July 8, 2022

Joe Spector (Dutch) - How he’s changing the pet industry and how his approach to fundraising has evolved

Joe Spector (Dutch) - How he’s changing the pet industry and how his approach to fundraising has evolved

Our guest today is Joe Spector, Founder & CEO of Dutch. Dutch is the online vet care when you need it. Previously Joe was one of the founders of hims & hers. We discuss the opportunity he saw within pet insurance and care, how his approach to fundraising is different than hims & hers, why he wants to change the incentive structure within the vet industry.

  1. Why did you decide to leave hims & hers?
  2. What was the aha moment that led to Dutch?
  3. What was the opportunity that you saw?
  4. Why did you decide to focus on telehealth for pets?
  5. What is the major pain point for pet owners?
  6. Can you lay out for us the value chain for healthcare for pets? How are the regulatory requirements different from healthcare for humans?
  7. How did you approach raising capital?
  8. In the early days, they have to be good at multiple things
  9. What was the first problem you wanted to solve?
  10. How did you approach distribution and sales?
  11. Paying vets $80 an hour
  12. Hims & Hers raised money every 90 days and raised lots of money. How do you approach fundraising and the capital structure of Dutch?
    1. What was it like fundraising during COVID?
    2. Don’t use a recruiter
  13. There was a substantial increase in pet ownership during COVID and telemedicine was more widely adopted as a whole during this period. How was Dutch affected? Did you grow faster than you expect?
  14. Since only 2% of pet owners have insurance, how do you approach consumer education?
  15. How do you think about the incentives for vets - they make money off selling the drugs, so they would want to recommend more drugs for your pet - and what is Dutch doing to create better alignment with the vet and the pet owner/pet?
Transcript
WEBVTT 1 00:00:02.439 --> 00:00:16.559 Oh, hello and welcome to the consumer VC. I am your host, 2 00:00:16.600 --> 00:00:19.800 Mike Gelb, and on this show we talked about the world of venture capital 3 00:00:20.039 --> 00:00:25.160 and innovation in both consumer technology and consumer products. If you're enjoying this content, 4 00:00:25.239 --> 00:00:29.480 you could subscribe to my newsletter, the consumer VC DOT sub stack dot 5 00:00:29.480 --> 00:00:33.159 com, to get each new episode and more consumer news delivered straight to your 6 00:00:33.200 --> 00:00:37.799 inbox. Our guest today is Joe Specter, founder and CEO of Dutch. 7 00:00:38.200 --> 00:00:42.200 Dutch is the online vet care when you need it. Previously, Joe is 8 00:00:42.240 --> 00:00:46.359 one of the founders of hymns and hers. We discussed the opportunity he saw 9 00:00:46.439 --> 00:00:51.240 within pet insurance and care, how his approach to fundraising at Dutch was quite 10 00:00:51.280 --> 00:00:54.719 different to his approach at Hymn and hers and why he wants to change the 11 00:00:54.759 --> 00:01:07.040 incentive structure within the vet industry. Without further ADO, here's Joe. Joe, 12 00:01:07.400 --> 00:01:08.959 thank you so much for joining me here today. How are you? 13 00:01:10.439 --> 00:01:15.439 I'm doing extremely well. Like I said, I I feel like I'm running 14 00:01:15.439 --> 00:01:19.239 like a chicken with its head cut off, but in a good way. 15 00:01:19.719 --> 00:01:25.480 I'm a happy chicken. It's my natural state. As long as you're a 16 00:01:25.560 --> 00:01:27.760 happy chicken, that is a good thing. That is a good thing. 17 00:01:29.000 --> 00:01:30.599 So I wanted to start at the very beginning. You know, before you 18 00:01:30.599 --> 00:01:34.480 started Dutch, which obviously we're gonna spend the majority of our time talking about, 19 00:01:34.959 --> 00:01:38.400 you were one of the Co founders of hymns and hers. Why did 20 00:01:38.439 --> 00:01:44.280 you decide to leave hymns and hers? What did you learn from that experience? 21 00:01:44.799 --> 00:01:48.680 I learned so much, and I think the short answers you know, 22 00:01:48.879 --> 00:01:55.200 I did what I did at hymns and it was time to be the CEO 23 00:01:55.040 --> 00:01:59.760 and the bus of my own adventure. But I learned a lot. I 24 00:02:00.079 --> 00:02:02.840 learned what it's like to fundraise. I learned what it's like to build a 25 00:02:02.879 --> 00:02:08.840 team. I learned what it's like to build a telemedicine business stayed by state 26 00:02:09.240 --> 00:02:16.199 heavy operations. I learned what it's like to scale a business, operations wise, 27 00:02:16.439 --> 00:02:22.080 human capital wise, and on the marketing side, learned what it's like 28 00:02:22.240 --> 00:02:25.800 to to be spending millions of dollars a month. That is a lot of 29 00:02:25.919 --> 00:02:30.319 learnings right there. So when he felt like it was your time to go 30 00:02:30.400 --> 00:02:32.599 and him and start your own thing, what became Dutch? What was that 31 00:02:32.639 --> 00:02:38.159 experience like and when did you have the idea for Dutch? What was kind 32 00:02:38.199 --> 00:02:42.360 of that Aha moment. If there was an Aha moment, it was we 33 00:02:42.479 --> 00:02:49.599 got a pandemic puppy. My brother has had a dog forever and I think 34 00:02:49.639 --> 00:02:55.039 the combination of that, I literally had the Saha moment where I felt, 35 00:02:55.319 --> 00:03:01.840 wait a minute, I just built a way for our guys to save a 36 00:03:01.879 --> 00:03:08.360 ton of money and time and yet here I am spending hundreds of dollars at 37 00:03:08.400 --> 00:03:15.599 the vet half my day. This makes no sense. And I looked at 38 00:03:15.599 --> 00:03:21.280 the landscape and I just saw so many similarities of what the world was like 39 00:03:21.520 --> 00:03:27.120 before hymns came on the scene and I just saw so many similar patterns that 40 00:03:27.199 --> 00:03:31.520 I felt like position to address them in the pet market. So what was 41 00:03:31.599 --> 00:03:36.039 the first step? And I mean that totally. You know understands on paper 42 00:03:36.319 --> 00:03:39.120 right, seeing since and Hims and hers. You build telemedicine business for humans, 43 00:03:39.680 --> 00:03:46.680 why not build a telemedicine business for pets? What was the first kind 44 00:03:46.680 --> 00:03:50.080 of steps you had to take, though, for Dutch and you know, 45 00:03:50.120 --> 00:03:53.039 maybe if those were, you know, different to you know, hymns and 46 00:03:53.039 --> 00:03:57.319 hers. I think one of the things I really learned coming out of hymns 47 00:03:57.479 --> 00:04:03.439 is the importance of testing. So I put up several kind of smoke screen 48 00:04:03.520 --> 00:04:10.560 tests that started to give me a really positive indication of the opportunity here, 49 00:04:10.800 --> 00:04:15.600 and that's kind of something similar we did at hymns before launch. And then 50 00:04:16.040 --> 00:04:21.800 it was also, of course, understanding the competitive landscape, and that was 51 00:04:21.839 --> 00:04:29.399 also very similar because prior to hymns there were lots of companies who wanted to 52 00:04:29.480 --> 00:04:35.000 attack men's wellness, but they wanted to go the easier out and offer retail 53 00:04:35.120 --> 00:04:40.879 style products, and hymns made a decision early on to go do the hard 54 00:04:40.920 --> 00:04:46.360 thing, which is actually writing prescriptions, and I felt like that's what Dutch 55 00:04:46.480 --> 00:04:50.120 is gonna do. And I saw that everyone was also in the pet space, 56 00:04:50.680 --> 00:04:57.199 dancing around the edges, but no one was going all out and actually 57 00:04:57.839 --> 00:05:01.920 building a network that could write a description and save you time and money from 58 00:05:01.920 --> 00:05:06.240 going to e at. That's helpful. What were some of the smoke screen 59 00:05:06.360 --> 00:05:12.720 tests that you did when you were first kind of formulating and thinking about Dutch? 60 00:05:13.040 --> 00:05:17.199 It's thinking about like what's the some of the low hanging fruit that's out 61 00:05:17.199 --> 00:05:25.560 there, and there's just like hymns attacked chronic conditions. I put out different 62 00:05:25.639 --> 00:05:31.000 chronic conditions on the pet side to see what the uptake was on facebook and 63 00:05:31.040 --> 00:05:38.079 instagram. That was always kind of the easier place to go, especially before 64 00:05:38.199 --> 00:05:42.360 some of the IOS four team changes. That's kind of what we did there, 65 00:05:42.399 --> 00:05:46.000 and it's easy to put up things and see how they perform. Got 66 00:05:46.040 --> 00:05:49.600 It. Got It. So running tests through facebook ads, instagram ads and 67 00:05:49.680 --> 00:05:54.480 kind of see this is something that people were responding to or being receptive. 68 00:05:54.519 --> 00:05:57.839 As you know, if you were to build and actually be able to write 69 00:05:57.879 --> 00:06:01.920 prescriptions online actually be something something that that people were Keenan. I'd imagine that, 70 00:06:02.319 --> 00:06:04.720 Um, since you started, you know, during the pandemic, there 71 00:06:04.759 --> 00:06:09.319 was probably a lot of excitement from from people that, hey, like, 72 00:06:09.519 --> 00:06:13.920 I can't really go anywhere anyway and I can get so many things directly to 73 00:06:14.000 --> 00:06:16.920 my doorstep except for, you know, prescriptions for my pet. So I 74 00:06:16.920 --> 00:06:20.360 can understand why that actually makes sense, why they actually did have maybe some 75 00:06:20.480 --> 00:06:25.079 buzz or excitement around on this particular process. When you saw a lot of 76 00:06:25.120 --> 00:06:29.319 different companies hanging around the edges of what the real problem is in pain point 77 00:06:29.360 --> 00:06:33.600 writing prescriptions, how were you able to tackle that and go through the regulations? 78 00:06:33.680 --> 00:06:38.079 Obviously you're able to do it with in the hymns and hers, and 79 00:06:38.480 --> 00:06:44.759 I'd Imagine Regulation for writing human prescriptions is different than writing pet prescriptions. I 80 00:06:44.759 --> 00:06:46.959 would love to kind of just talk a bit about, you know, comparing 81 00:06:47.279 --> 00:06:51.519 writing prescriptions of what you did with hymns and building this business with Dutch and 82 00:06:51.600 --> 00:06:57.959 as well as why so many companies avoided solving this pain point. I think, 83 00:06:58.160 --> 00:07:00.600 at a high level, first of all, it's a messy endeavor. 84 00:07:00.879 --> 00:07:06.480 It's a lot easier to sell it toy or sell something over the counter. 85 00:07:06.720 --> 00:07:11.759 You can get going and then it's a classic you know, selling socks, 86 00:07:11.839 --> 00:07:18.240 model et CETERA. This takes a lot of effort and it is kind of 87 00:07:18.279 --> 00:07:23.240 the lessons I learned from him's I was able to bring in many of the 88 00:07:23.319 --> 00:07:29.319 lawyers, many of the pharmacies, many of the lobbyists that I already developed 89 00:07:29.319 --> 00:07:35.879 relationships. There's not that many even today, excellent telemedicine lawyers. That's kind 90 00:07:35.879 --> 00:07:42.800 of a specialized art form and being able to have someone who's kind of already 91 00:07:42.800 --> 00:07:45.879 done the work, I think, certainly gave me a leg up. I 92 00:07:45.959 --> 00:07:49.480 also think, I mean being an entrepreneur to begin with requires very thick skin. 93 00:07:50.040 --> 00:07:57.079 Working with regulators, working with a new group of folks, veterinarians who 94 00:07:57.079 --> 00:08:01.120 have never seen telemedicine. You're, I mean, says to my earlier point 95 00:08:01.319 --> 00:08:05.839 of running with a chicken like you know, there's just so many constituencies that 96 00:08:05.879 --> 00:08:11.560 you have to bring into your corner. It's an S C process and I 97 00:08:11.600 --> 00:08:16.720 think if you've never done it before, if you don't have that thicked skin, 98 00:08:16.079 --> 00:08:22.639 it's easy to run away from it or delay attacking the inevitable. So 99 00:08:22.879 --> 00:08:28.759 I think for me it was always like, let's address the real problem, 100 00:08:28.959 --> 00:08:35.960 which is getting prescriptions in a way that's cheap effective to saves you time, 101 00:08:35.600 --> 00:08:39.879 and let's go after that problem. That's the biggest problem. Let's not waste 102 00:08:39.879 --> 00:08:45.000 time doing all this other stuff. Did you also see on the regulation side, 103 00:08:45.080 --> 00:08:48.960 and you know working with lawyers that are very specific, have the specific 104 00:08:48.000 --> 00:08:56.000 skill set um in telemedicine, did you also see that there was definitely a 105 00:08:56.039 --> 00:09:00.919 push for this to happen by just the market in total, given that you 106 00:09:00.960 --> 00:09:03.000 had covid where, I'd Imagine, in Hymns and hers, I mean as 107 00:09:03.000 --> 00:09:07.240 well, you're dealing with human medicine. I'd imagine that that's more complicated than 108 00:09:07.440 --> 00:09:09.720 pet medicine, on the surface at least, but him and hers was, 109 00:09:09.720 --> 00:09:13.480 of course hard way before the pandemic and there might have been a question of 110 00:09:13.600 --> 00:09:16.559 is this actually real need, whereas, since it's harding this business right during 111 00:09:16.559 --> 00:09:18.360 the pandemic, was there kind of more like a market push for this to 112 00:09:18.399 --> 00:09:24.600 actually get done and being a company that would actually be able to provide this 113 00:09:24.639 --> 00:09:28.600 type of service to pet owners. There's definitely some differences, I think, 114 00:09:28.679 --> 00:09:35.519 in many ways, with hymns you're sort of solving the embarrassing actor of discussing 115 00:09:35.639 --> 00:09:43.039 these issues with your doctor and kind of hymns offers you discreetness. There isn't 116 00:09:43.080 --> 00:09:46.600 as much of a need for discreetness and pet men's. In fact, people 117 00:09:46.639 --> 00:09:54.120 are very vocal about all the issues that their pets have. But the thing 118 00:09:54.200 --> 00:10:01.480 that we're solving for is making it way cheaper and more convenient and more affordable, 119 00:10:01.159 --> 00:10:07.720 and usually the pain point is when this issue is happening, like your 120 00:10:07.759 --> 00:10:11.559 pet has an ear infection and it takes three weeks to get an appointment. 121 00:10:13.039 --> 00:10:16.759 I think for us the driving force was not only the massive amount of pets 122 00:10:16.759 --> 00:10:26.480 adopted but also the declining ratio of veterinarians two pets. I think the veterinarian 123 00:10:26.480 --> 00:10:31.879 economics are extremely different. A vet has to go almost get the same amount 124 00:10:31.879 --> 00:10:37.399 of schooling as a doctor, but the average veterinarian makes, if you can 125 00:10:37.480 --> 00:10:45.519 believe this, fifty hour. The difference in is just staggering. There's also 126 00:10:45.639 --> 00:10:52.480 just really different incentives. So there are very few haves and a lot of 127 00:10:52.559 --> 00:10:56.440 have not in the veterinary industry. The haves are the ones who own a 128 00:10:56.480 --> 00:11:01.519 clinic or run, you know, corporate rations, and they have not is 129 00:11:01.600 --> 00:11:09.440 the cent of that's who are working for the man and they're the ones making 130 00:11:09.559 --> 00:11:16.399 on average fifty bucks an hour. However, the veterinarians are making uh significant 131 00:11:16.399 --> 00:11:22.279 amount of their income from selling drugs, and that is very different than human 132 00:11:22.320 --> 00:11:28.480 medicine. Can you imagine a human doctor who made a third of his income 133 00:11:30.120 --> 00:11:35.559 selling medicine? That's a drug dealer. So like that would just stop in 134 00:11:35.600 --> 00:11:41.039 a second, whereas somehow, because maybe it's a smaller market. I think 135 00:11:41.039 --> 00:11:46.759 it's also because it's much more of a cash pay market, which is a 136 00:11:46.840 --> 00:11:54.440 huge structural difference. Most consumers don't have pet insurance, most humans have human 137 00:11:54.480 --> 00:12:03.919 insurance, and and so that dynamic create it's a much bigger incentive for the 138 00:12:03.039 --> 00:12:13.879 veterinarian who owns the clinic to be selling medicine and just loading up your basket 139 00:12:13.960 --> 00:12:20.080 when you check out with a lot of medication that you have no control over 140 00:12:20.159 --> 00:12:24.279 really, because they just charge your card and get out of here. But 141 00:12:24.360 --> 00:12:31.559 the people who really make that money is the small concentration of that clinic owners, 142 00:12:31.159 --> 00:12:37.559 and the vast majority of vets and the entire set of consumers are the 143 00:12:37.559 --> 00:12:41.840 ones that bear the brunt of these unnecessary expenses and costs. That was a 144 00:12:41.840 --> 00:12:46.840 lot. No, that was a lot. That was a lot. So 145 00:12:46.399 --> 00:12:50.720 it seems like, let's park with your first point, Um, that there 146 00:12:50.799 --> 00:12:54.080 isn't that much discreetness when it comes to pet ownership. I think people are 147 00:12:54.080 --> 00:12:58.120 a lot more comfortable talking about maybe their pet illnesses than their own illnesses. 148 00:12:58.600 --> 00:13:01.960 Right. So I'd imagine how that maybe translates to Dutch. That custom acquisition 149 00:13:03.039 --> 00:13:05.159 might be easier for you. Then I would think, oh, for sure. 150 00:13:05.159 --> 00:13:11.600 And there's just a lot more stuff, right, like the same dog 151 00:13:11.720 --> 00:13:16.639 will get an ear and eye infection than they could, three months later, 152 00:13:16.720 --> 00:13:20.879 get a skin infection. Like there's just more stuff in a shorter period of 153 00:13:20.919 --> 00:13:24.799 time that happens to an animal, right, right, of course, of 154 00:13:24.840 --> 00:13:28.159 course that makes sense. How did you approach this from the beginning, when 155 00:13:28.200 --> 00:13:31.360 you talked about, you know, your approach to partnerships with that and kind 156 00:13:31.399 --> 00:13:37.279 of all the kind of constituents within the value chain? How was your approach 157 00:13:37.679 --> 00:13:41.200 from the get go to make sure that Dutch was rightly positioned and be able 158 00:13:41.240 --> 00:13:46.399 to be successful? It's being super clear on what we are and what we're 159 00:13:46.440 --> 00:13:50.840 not, and so we we've always said that we see brick and mortar evets 160 00:13:50.879 --> 00:13:56.240 as partners. Our goal is not to eliminate the brick and mortar evet. 161 00:13:56.480 --> 00:14:01.000 Like we believe in your pets wellness. We believe even there are services that 162 00:14:01.519 --> 00:14:05.519 their best position to do so. We were always up front and we're actually 163 00:14:05.519 --> 00:14:13.000 gonna be forging relationships to that end in order to be that front door that 164 00:14:13.039 --> 00:14:20.320 I talked about. And at the same time, we're always clear, hey, 165 00:14:20.600 --> 00:14:26.919 there's these inefficiencies where the consumer is charged for a visit. That's not 166 00:14:28.120 --> 00:14:33.639 right. We're gonna cut that and we're gonna make it cheaper and faster for 167 00:14:33.679 --> 00:14:39.840 them to get a prescription when they don't need to unnecessarily go in person. 168 00:14:39.399 --> 00:14:43.600 Got It. That's helpful, and were you also align yourself with vets that 169 00:14:45.000 --> 00:14:48.519 to have them hey like for this prescription, you know it's your first one. 170 00:14:48.559 --> 00:14:52.600 That where we may be identified this illness, then afterwards you don't need 171 00:14:52.639 --> 00:14:54.080 to come in, you can just use Dutch. Were you also kind of 172 00:14:54.120 --> 00:14:58.200 thinking about like that type in terms of the customerization there, or or is 173 00:14:58.240 --> 00:15:01.039 it more on like the consumer to actually be able to find Dutch as an 174 00:15:01.039 --> 00:15:07.360 option? I think, and this was maybe a lesson from hymns, but 175 00:15:07.120 --> 00:15:13.440 the services built around the consumer first. So the consumer and the pet parent 176 00:15:13.600 --> 00:15:20.759 is at the heart of what we do and we actually have our own veterinarian 177 00:15:20.879 --> 00:15:26.840 network, and so that network is you know, we can ensure that they 178 00:15:26.879 --> 00:15:33.000 have good bedside manners, we can ensure that they're available all hours of the 179 00:15:33.080 --> 00:15:37.320 day as opposed to getting on evenness in our coverage or even us in our 180 00:15:37.399 --> 00:15:43.799 communication. But I will say the one thing we're doing is we're paying veterinarians 181 00:15:45.440 --> 00:15:48.879 eighty dollars per our, which is, you know, still far less than 182 00:15:48.960 --> 00:15:56.799 what a doctor makes, but we feel that's a competitive rate for the average 183 00:15:56.879 --> 00:16:02.440 veterinarian Um to actually make a living and pay off their loans. Yeah, 184 00:16:02.559 --> 00:16:06.639 no, I mean definitely compared to fifty. So at least that is better. 185 00:16:06.799 --> 00:16:10.559 How did you go about building? You know this because it sounds quite 186 00:16:10.600 --> 00:16:15.879 ambitious as well, building this network of vets? Well, I did it 187 00:16:15.919 --> 00:16:19.879 at hymns. I built I built our network of physicians and I can tell 188 00:16:19.919 --> 00:16:23.480 you I remember. Yeah, this is one of those things. You know 189 00:16:23.559 --> 00:16:27.200 as an entrepreneur, the more muscle memory you have of stuff, easier it 190 00:16:27.320 --> 00:16:33.960 is to do it the second third time around. I remember thinking who in 191 00:16:33.000 --> 00:16:38.039 the world is gonna, as a you know, as a doctor, will 192 00:16:38.080 --> 00:16:45.799 work for this digital startup that's selling you D medication? But you know what, 193 00:16:45.159 --> 00:16:48.639 found one, then found the second one and pretty soon that was ten 194 00:16:48.720 --> 00:16:52.639 and then a hundred and then three hundred. Um. So I think same 195 00:16:52.679 --> 00:17:00.799 thing here. There are many veterinarians who see the opportunity of tell in medicine. 196 00:17:00.320 --> 00:17:04.839 There's so many veterinarians, Um, who are women, who are looking 197 00:17:04.960 --> 00:17:10.160 for a work life balance. There are many who are looking for a better 198 00:17:10.240 --> 00:17:15.799 salary. They're seeing what's happening on the human side until the medicine adoption. 199 00:17:15.519 --> 00:17:18.960 So the more you start to do it, you kind of see, okay, 200 00:17:19.079 --> 00:17:23.880 there's really a population for whom this is in demand and they're looking for 201 00:17:23.920 --> 00:17:29.599 a service to jump onto. That makes sense. How have you also approached 202 00:17:29.599 --> 00:17:33.160 given the current fundraised landscape market conditions? We've now seen a few companies that 203 00:17:33.200 --> 00:17:37.079 have extremely high burn rate, not much revenue to show for it um having 204 00:17:37.079 --> 00:17:41.039 to fold because they just weren't able to they thought that the capital might be 205 00:17:41.079 --> 00:17:45.039 heap flowing and it just has not. has dried up a little bit. 206 00:17:45.039 --> 00:17:47.640 I want to say a little bit, because there's still a lot of capital 207 00:17:47.720 --> 00:17:48.960 still out there. What do you think about, you know, your burn 208 00:17:49.079 --> 00:17:52.960 rate, which I know is always top of mind for entrepreneurs, and, 209 00:17:52.000 --> 00:17:57.319 of course, revenue. How does this relate to your approach to hiring in 210 00:17:57.359 --> 00:18:02.880 this current landscape? Where do you maybe have a thought that you were going 211 00:18:02.920 --> 00:18:06.079 to hire maybe a lot more people prior to, you know, all the 212 00:18:06.119 --> 00:18:08.799 events that have happened in two and now, Hey, I want to maybe 213 00:18:08.799 --> 00:18:12.359 scale back a little bit and maybe cut my burn per se um or so. 214 00:18:12.440 --> 00:18:17.039 I just would let to kind of hear your thoughts around and if you 215 00:18:17.400 --> 00:18:19.880 had any type of change of heart. What you thought last year when it 216 00:18:19.920 --> 00:18:25.920 came to growing Dutch, as opposed to your current perspective? I think that 217 00:18:26.359 --> 00:18:32.240 it was always top of mind from a previous experience, but also here, 218 00:18:32.880 --> 00:18:40.119 that in the early days people have to be not just good but excellent and 219 00:18:40.160 --> 00:18:45.759 they actually need to be good at multiple things and they can't even just necessarily 220 00:18:45.880 --> 00:18:49.480 be good at one thing. So I think most people are doing the job 221 00:18:49.559 --> 00:18:55.119 of one and a half to two people and they're doing it in a way. 222 00:18:55.599 --> 00:18:59.400 You know, I think most of us are Dutch, our pet owners, 223 00:19:00.240 --> 00:19:04.680 and we're in this business because we're solving a problem that many of us 224 00:19:06.039 --> 00:19:11.200 personally have. So I think there's a lot of passion and excitement for the 225 00:19:11.279 --> 00:19:17.519 actual product that we're building, but it's definitely a lean team and it's as 226 00:19:17.559 --> 00:19:23.240 efficient as it gets. I think that earlier on, I think, coming 227 00:19:23.480 --> 00:19:30.400 like in June when we first raised the seed, I think I thought maybe 228 00:19:30.440 --> 00:19:36.880 we would just be growing and burning, but I definitely think in this environment 229 00:19:37.079 --> 00:19:41.480 having to take a step back and making sure that we're not just growing for 230 00:19:41.559 --> 00:19:47.920 the sake of growth. We're growing and acquiring the right users for our service 231 00:19:48.279 --> 00:19:52.240 and I think we've also made sure that our service is solving the right problem, 232 00:19:52.519 --> 00:19:59.359 which is on the prescription side as opposed to being kind of a general 233 00:19:59.519 --> 00:20:03.839 pet as PAT health business. Yeah, no, I that makes a lot 234 00:20:03.920 --> 00:20:06.880 of sense in terms of, you know, how you think about the market 235 00:20:06.839 --> 00:20:11.440 conditions, because I'd imagine it's also very challenging because talent has become extremely expensive, 236 00:20:11.640 --> 00:20:17.240 really hard to to hire, considering that there's so many opportunities out there. 237 00:20:17.640 --> 00:20:18.880 That, you know, kind of equates to what could be, you 238 00:20:18.920 --> 00:20:23.160 know, a high burn rate and not so great. What's also just generally 239 00:20:23.200 --> 00:20:27.480 speaking, what's your approach to since you've now, you know, I mean 240 00:20:27.480 --> 00:20:33.319 obviously you were part of and one of the founders and scaled hymns and now, 241 00:20:33.359 --> 00:20:37.000 of course, you're on your own journey um as CEO here Dutch. 242 00:20:37.119 --> 00:20:41.079 What's your approach to hiring, especially, I feel like, in this project 243 00:20:41.160 --> 00:20:47.119 climate, since it's really quite tricky, I'd imagine. So hiring, I 244 00:20:47.160 --> 00:20:53.079 think, is my secret weapon. I think, uh, if you say 245 00:20:53.160 --> 00:20:59.119 so myself, I find a lot of success on Linkedin. I think my 246 00:20:59.519 --> 00:21:07.039 other approach is I don't use recruiters. I think that there's a certain type 247 00:21:07.039 --> 00:21:11.599 of candidate who takes the recruiter phone call and then there's a far better candidate 248 00:21:11.839 --> 00:21:18.400 that takes a phone call with the actual CEO who actually wrote an email and 249 00:21:18.440 --> 00:21:22.519 being someone on purpose. I think the other thing is people look at, 250 00:21:22.599 --> 00:21:26.599 you know, who are the DCS. Again, lots of people can give 251 00:21:26.640 --> 00:21:32.200 money, but our main investors, forerunner, eclipse, Ben Lang. I 252 00:21:32.240 --> 00:21:37.000 think there's some of the best out there and so people are excited to partner 253 00:21:37.079 --> 00:21:41.960 with them as well. But yeah, I think doing my own outreach and 254 00:21:41.039 --> 00:21:45.039 doing it on Linkedin has been quite star and I also, you know, 255 00:21:45.079 --> 00:21:51.799 I think the other differences with Dutch is that there are so many pet parents 256 00:21:52.759 --> 00:21:59.720 who are dealing with the issue that we're solving that they're actually passionate about being 257 00:22:00.039 --> 00:22:06.119 part of that solution and working on this product, as opposed to joining something, 258 00:22:06.359 --> 00:22:11.799 you know, some Essoentaric Sass or some other thing that that may make 259 00:22:11.920 --> 00:22:15.279 good sense, but isn't something identify with. Yeah, we always give enterprise 260 00:22:15.359 --> 00:22:18.279 as a hard time as on this podcast, as you can imagine. But 261 00:22:18.400 --> 00:22:22.279 no, I mean that is part of what I love personally about consumer of 262 00:22:22.279 --> 00:22:26.359 course you know that that that it could be a problem or a pain point 263 00:22:26.400 --> 00:22:29.240 that you're personally solving Um and that, of course, you know, Dutch 264 00:22:29.279 --> 00:22:32.759 came from as well, a pain point that you started as a covid dog 265 00:22:32.839 --> 00:22:36.880 parent, which is Great. How do you also ensure as we're kind of 266 00:22:36.880 --> 00:22:40.799 coming out of covid it's maybe tough to say, but what are maybe initiative 267 00:22:40.880 --> 00:22:45.240 that you're taking to make sure that to keep users not maybe churning or, 268 00:22:45.279 --> 00:22:49.880 you know, leaving Dutch and you know, still be customers and part of 269 00:22:49.880 --> 00:22:53.519 what you're building in a post covid world. Once people are quiet, like 270 00:22:53.599 --> 00:23:00.000 there were twenty million pets adopted during covid Um, that's not gonna go away. 271 00:23:00.200 --> 00:23:02.839 That's a pet you have, like you said, for the next ten 272 00:23:02.960 --> 00:23:10.000 years and I think there's always something in you know now that we're exiting covid, 273 00:23:10.759 --> 00:23:15.200 but we are seeing the highest rate of inflation since the early eighties. 274 00:23:15.720 --> 00:23:21.519 So making sure that we're providing an affordable solution. That's again, that's the 275 00:23:21.559 --> 00:23:25.920 new world and that's going to stay with us for another several years. And 276 00:23:25.960 --> 00:23:32.599 actually Dutch has lowered. Our prices were now fifteen dollars a month, like 277 00:23:33.240 --> 00:23:37.079 cheaper than anything else you'll see in the market. And we're also super transparent 278 00:23:37.440 --> 00:23:44.160 on your medication. So there's something you find more competitive or you want to 279 00:23:44.160 --> 00:23:47.839 take out of your basket, you control that as the consumer. So I 280 00:23:47.839 --> 00:23:53.839 think being affordable and significantly more affordable and saving you time, I think, 281 00:23:53.960 --> 00:24:00.400 is the secret weapon. I can understand customers not wanting to revert back to 282 00:24:00.000 --> 00:24:04.039 maybe the old way of renewing medicine and having to go to the bet all 283 00:24:04.079 --> 00:24:07.920 the time and what have you, as well as obviously beating them to on 284 00:24:08.000 --> 00:24:11.680 price. What is kind of the vision in the future of Dutch as you're 285 00:24:11.680 --> 00:24:15.720 thinking about here, in the next next few years per se? I think 286 00:24:15.880 --> 00:24:23.680 our core competency is the vet network being able to write prescriptions. We're also 287 00:24:23.759 --> 00:24:30.480 investing in our own electronic medical records dashboard, so that's going to continue to 288 00:24:30.680 --> 00:24:37.039 put the power of your medical history into the hands of the consumer. You 289 00:24:37.039 --> 00:24:41.000 know, if you can imagine ever having to switch vets, are going to 290 00:24:41.079 --> 00:24:45.319 urgent care and you don't know where your your medical records are, I think 291 00:24:45.359 --> 00:24:49.640 that's an immensely powerful tool. And then, using that Hook Um, I 292 00:24:49.640 --> 00:24:56.079 think will continue to partner with other brick and mortar, with other retailers, 293 00:24:56.799 --> 00:25:03.559 to help facilitate cost effective for descriptions for their customers as well. It's really 294 00:25:03.599 --> 00:25:07.599 great. What's one book that's inspired you personally? In one book that's inspired 295 00:25:07.640 --> 00:25:12.319 you professionally? Personally, I mean the book that has is so dear to 296 00:25:12.400 --> 00:25:18.799 my heart is this book called Exodus by Leon Uris, and it's, uh, 297 00:25:19.240 --> 00:25:26.160 the story of the founding of Israel, and my own background is that 298 00:25:26.240 --> 00:25:32.640 I grew up in the former Soviet Union and that book was illegal the partially 299 00:25:32.720 --> 00:25:38.680 because it's a story of fighting for freedom, and my dad almost went to 300 00:25:38.720 --> 00:25:44.079 Siberia for for having that book. And being sort of a fighter is a 301 00:25:44.519 --> 00:25:48.519 is a character trait that I think I've developed more and more and that book 302 00:25:48.559 --> 00:25:53.759 always inspires me. On the professional side, my favorite book is never split 303 00:25:53.839 --> 00:26:02.119 the difference. It's by a former FBI hostage negotiator or and he has some 304 00:26:02.200 --> 00:26:07.880 really great advice on how to negotiate. I really appreciate you you sharing both 305 00:26:07.920 --> 00:26:11.160 those books. Exit is. We haven't heard x is yet featured on this 306 00:26:11.200 --> 00:26:12.440 show, so I'm really excited to add that to the book list. And 307 00:26:12.640 --> 00:26:17.519 that's also a very, very powerful reason why he chose it. And never's 308 00:26:17.519 --> 00:26:19.000 with the difference. We've had a couple of past guests type of that book. 309 00:26:19.000 --> 00:26:22.440 I mean, I read it. I think it's fantastic as well. 310 00:26:22.599 --> 00:26:27.039 My final question for you is, what's the best piece of advice that you've 311 00:26:27.079 --> 00:26:33.960 received? I think again, I'm like, there's probably no professional and personal. 312 00:26:36.160 --> 00:26:42.720 I think on the professional side it's making sure that you make the time 313 00:26:44.200 --> 00:26:47.079 to, you know, to do the things that make you happy with, 314 00:26:47.319 --> 00:26:49.960 which for me is right now, my family and my kids. Um, 315 00:26:51.000 --> 00:26:53.960 it's so easy, as an entrepreneur at least for me, to spend an 316 00:26:55.000 --> 00:27:00.440 additional two hours here, two hours there, and little by little they Um, 317 00:27:00.480 --> 00:27:02.960 you know, your kids grow up and you haven't seen them. So 318 00:27:03.000 --> 00:27:07.559 I think it's so important to just make the time and those are the moments 319 00:27:07.559 --> 00:27:11.880 you you'll probably remember for a long time. So that's kind of one piece 320 00:27:11.920 --> 00:27:15.640 of advice, is just to make the time for yourself or to make it 321 00:27:15.680 --> 00:27:21.319 for your family. And I think on the on the professional side, I 322 00:27:21.319 --> 00:27:26.240 would say, you know, surround yourself with people who are going to challenge 323 00:27:26.279 --> 00:27:32.920 you and don't surround yourself with yes people. Joe, this has been such 324 00:27:32.920 --> 00:27:34.720 a pleasure. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you, and 325 00:27:34.759 --> 00:27:37.319 there you have it. It was so terrific chatting with Joe. I hope 326 00:27:37.359 --> 00:27:41.279 you all enjoyed it. If you enjoyed this episode, I love it if 327 00:27:41.279 --> 00:27:44.519 you'd write a review on the apple podcast. You're also welcome to follow me 328 00:27:44.640 --> 00:27:48.240 your host, Mike, on twitter at Mike Gel and also follow for episode 329 00:27:48.240 --> 00:28:03.559 announcements at Consumer VC. Thanks for listening. Everyone to be a good and 330 00:28:03.920 --> 00:28:10.440 all want to do. I want to do