Highfive Vet Wholesale, Providing the Same High Quality Pet Meds at a Fraction of the Cost
From February through May 2021, 8 pet care startups from 5 different countries joined the Leap Venture Studio to enhance their business plans, prepare for fundraising milestones, and establish minimum viable brands. Learn more about each startup and their leaders through our blog series on Cohort 4. We asked each founder questions about their startup journey, who inspires them, and of course a little bit about their pets!
Highfive Vet Wholesale (Moss Beach, California): Highfive Vet Wholesale is a radically transparent B2B marketplace for wholesale pet prescription drugs, connecting manufacturers directly with shelters & veterinarians. Their mission is to save shelters money, so they can save more lives.
Dr. Kate Mezan, Co-Founder:
What inspired you to build your pet care startup?
Kate: We were inspired to create Highfive because of a desire to make high quality pet care more affordable — for people’s pets and for the millions of dogs and cats living in animal shelters. With her background in pet drug manufacturing, my co-founder, Nayoung Susie Kim, knew that the actual cost to produce many common drugs is quite low, but by the time the product reaches the patient, that cost has grown exponentially! This means higher costs for animal shelters, higher costs for pet parents, and as a result, less access to care for animals. We knew we could disrupt the traditional model and provide those same products for significantly less. Our hope is that by saving animal welfare organizations money, this will ultimately allow them to save more lives.
Tell us about any pets you have! How did your relationship with your pet inspire your business?
Kate: I have a Heeler mix named Mosey and a large white rabbit named Lily, while Nayoung has an adorable mix named Wiggles. All were adopted from shelters! We both appreciate how amazing shelter animals can be — just as fabulous as fur kids with a pedigree, and no less deserving of high quality pet care. And actually, it was “Wiggles”that brought us together as a team! Nayoung brought Wiggles into Kate’s vet office for a new puppy exam, and Highfive grew from there.
Now a few weeks into the Leap Venture Studio, what has been the most beneficial part of the accelerator program?
Kate: The Leap Venture Studio has been an amazing experience for our company. The most beneficial part has been access to Leap’s impressive network of mentors, pet care leaders, and experts! Especially during COVID when many traditional “in-person” opportunities for networking are closed, it’s been priceless to get introductions and advice from so many prominent players in the field that we otherwise would have struggled to connect with.
What has been an unexpected upside of the pandemic?
Kate: An unexpected upside of the pandemic has been a full embrace of the internet for connecting people regardless of geographic location. Working on Highfive, I’ve had the opportunity to join working groups of animal welfare professionals all across the country — sharing ideas and learning from each other’s best practices. Of course this was possible pre-pandemic as well, but with everyone “stuck” at home, whether you’re next door to someone or across the world suddenly seems irrelevant and the importance of location fades away. This is especially apparent in the Leap Venture Studio — where we have entrepreneurs from around the world!
What is the best movie, podcast, or book you’ve discovered in the past year?
Kate: The best movie I’ve discovered in the past year has been the documentary “My Octopus Teacher” on Netflix! Aside from just being a peaceful, beautiful story in the midst of a turbulent year, the film also underscores the profound nature of the connection between humans and animals — something that I think drives all of us in our pet-focused entrepreneurial journeys.
What advice would you give to other founders just starting their journey?
Kate: I would advise founders not to worry too much about venturing outside their comfort zone. Especially in entrepreneurship, the reality is that no one really knows what they’re doing — that’s the nature of trying something no one has done before! Don’t let the insecurities and uncertainty hold you back — if we all did that, nothing would ever change.
Join us on Thursday, May 6th at 10am PT for the Leap Venture Studio Demo Day to celebrate these incredible founders that are forging new trails in the $100 billion pet care industry! The event will be streamed through YouTube Live (link coming soon). Each company will present a pitch deck on their company and answer questions in the live chat.