Modern Animal, a startup that wants to revamp veterinary clinics for the digital age, announced Oct. 24 it raised $13.5 million in seed funding.

The Playa Vista-based company will use the funds to open its first location in Beverly Grove early next year. It will offer feline and canine owners telemedicine, online medical records, free consultations and access to routine health care for a $100 annual membership.

Modern Animal hopes to grow to 50 clinics by 2025.

Founders Fund led the round with participation from Upfront Ventures, Susa Ventures, BAM Ventures, BoxGroup, DCM, LJ Ventures, and Wonder Ventures.

Steve Eidelman, who created pet-tracking company Whistle Labs Inc. — acquired in 2016 for $119 million by Mars Petcare — founded Modern Animal last year.

Eidelman said he was inspired by his experiences at Whistle, where he regularly dealt with veterinary clinics that weren’t using technology to inform patients and doctors. He also noticed that many clinics lacked visual appeal because they were run by doctors more focused on care than customer experience.

Modern Animal, he said, will feel like “a living room” and will give pet owners the kind of digital access they expect for their own health care records.

“We are doing everything here from veterinarian care at the clinic itself to building our own technology platform for clients and doctors,” he said.

Eidelman added the platform should help streamline daily operations, reduce wait times and improve customer service.

“We are not a technology company front center, but our first hire was an engineer,” he said. “Technology is at the center at the nucleus of our company.”

Members will be able to pull up their pooches’ medical information, ask doctors questions and even do telemedicine online. The clinics will not offer emergency or specialty care for now, but doctors will be able to refer patients to other clinics for that type of care.

Spending for veterinary care has been growing, according to the American Pet Products Association. The organization estimates that 67% of Americans have pets and they will spend nearly $19 billion on their animals' health care.

The market is especially rich in Southern California, home to VCA Inc, a national network of veterinarian hospitals, and Agoura Hills-based National Veterinary Associates Inc., which has more than 800 locations.

Manufacturing, retail and trade reporter Rachel Uranga can be reached at ruranga@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 556-8351. Follow her on Twitter @racheluranga.

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