Disruptive NZ veterinary software dominating global markets

open this image in new window: ezyVet

ezyVet’s cloud-based solution is revolutionising veterinary practice management.

At a glance

  • Large veterinary hospitals around the world are running on the cloud-based practice management solution, designed by New Zealand born company ezyVet.

  • One of the world’s most renown vet schools, Cornell University, is now using the platform.

  • Just as businesses rushed to adopt cloud-based accounting software, now vets are seeing the advantages of operating in the cloud.

  • A Callaghan Innovation grant is helping ezyVet take its technology to the next level with R&D in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

Tucked down a back street on Auckland’s city fringe a local business is quietly disrupting the global veterinary industry.

Few Kiwis have heard of ezyVet, and yet overseas veterinary practices with annual turnover in the hundreds of millions of dollars are running their enterprises on its platform.

Now with customers in six continents, and nearly 100 staff and offices in London and Dallas as well as its unassuming Auckland premises, ezyVet has also signed a deal with the vet school of US Ivy League college Cornell University which is rated in the top three in the world.

The partnership will see staff, undergraduate and post-graduate students, interns and residents across the seven facilities making up the Cornell University Hospital for Animals using the ezyVet cloud-hosted practice management system.

The software-as-a-service (SaaS) company first took its product to market five years ago. In the last two years it has tripled in size and sees no reason it can’t continue that growth trajectory.

Vets have been relatively slow to adopt the advantages of the cloud, with an estimated five per cent of US practices using cloud-based systems, CEO and Founder Hadleigh Bognuda says. But the tide is turning.

“As we saw with accounting software all of a sudden the bulk of businesses moved in a short space of time, and we’ll see that in the vet space as well,” he says.

Vet practices can run all their day-to-day operations on the platform, from making appointments to storing patient records. They can also integrate other tools such as x-ray imaging software into the system.

“We are the only truly enterprise veterinary software solution in the cloud that enables groups of hospitals to consolidate their individual facilities into one set of data,” Hadleigh says.

“It’s exciting. We’re up there on the world stage doing something great.”

Nearly two thirds of ezyVet’s revenue comes from North America.
Nearly two thirds of ezyVet’s revenue comes from North America.

Staying ahead of the game

With 65 per cent of its revenue generated in North America and another 22 per cent in Australia, ezyVet hasn’t had much need for publicity in its home market.

It is happily New Zealand-owned and domiciled, however, not least because it’s easier to recruit and retain good development staff here.

While both Texas and California have a high concentration of vets the company chose Dallas for its US office, because if it went to Silicon Valley it would be competing with all the other tech companies for staff, Chief Financial Officer Pete Brown says.

A trend in the veterinary sector that is playing to ezyVet’s advantage is consolidation. Large companies are buying up Mum and Dad practices, with one US client now owning 150 facilities, he says.

These corporate minds are all about efficiencies and as they roll out the ezyVet system they are clamouring for it to do more, “which is an opportunity for us because we can move quite fast”, Pete says.

ezyVet is the recent recipient of a Callaghan Innovation Growth Grant, and that assistance will be important as it takes its technology to the next level – turning the vast amounts of data contained within its platform into useful tools.

Currently the competition is still grappling with transforming legacy systems, but the company knows those firms will soon be nipping at its heels.

“It’s really important for the sustainability of our business that we keep ploughing that money back in, and the Callaghan Innovation assistance allows us to fast-track that,” Pete says.

“By having that 20 per cent co-funding through the Growth Grant it means we can go 20 per cent further,” he says.

Working with Callaghan Innovation business advisors who understand the needs of its R&D programme is one of the best models in the innovation space, he says.

All about the data

The first hospital in the Cornell University network went live on the platform in May, and the three biggest facilities are due to follow in October.

Going forward ezyVet hopes to work with Cornell and other universities on developing AI and machine learning technologies.

In the next 12 to 36 months it will be exploring concepts such as teaching the system to track user behaviour and send the data back, so that it can then train itself to perform the task.

“It’s this commitment to continually researching new applications for these technologies that will enable ezyVet to keep ahead of their competition and become the Xero of vet software,” says Marshall Couper, ezyVet’s Callaghan Innovation adviser.

AI has applications for important issues facing the animal health sector, for example management of disease outbreaks, Hadleigh says. The company has been geocoding its customers’ data for the past five years and can analyse clinical and financial trends by geographic region.

“Just having the ability to heat map that stuff in real time is going to become more and more relevant,” he says. “We’ve probably got the biggest repository of veterinary medical data of any cloud provider in the world.

“Certainly the future is all around how we can leverage the big data that we’ve collected.”

Updated: 8 July 2019