Spotlight on Vetchat

Written by Chanie Hyde on the 31st of May, 2017

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In just over a week we’re bringing you an EPIC Demo Day episode. So it’s only fitting that this week’s spotlight on founders offers a cheeky sneak peek on a day that was both exhilarating and daunting for our startups.

We chatted with Dr Claire Jenkins from vetchat about her experience, before, during and after demo day. So far in the series we’ve already seen Claire have to confront her fear of failure to take on tough feedback and nail her pitch. Then we watched her tear her own product apart so she could build it back up and ‘split-test’ it with customers. With so much happening in such a short time, the startup experience is certainly running at a cracking pace for vetchat!

I was recently quoted as saying “I think my brain just might explode with vetchat!” – Dr Claire Jenkins

Prior to ‘Demo Day’ my mind was in a cloud. Whilst I’m not proud of my above wordsmithery (you don’t get that in vet school!), it did sum up my life at the time pretty well.


Way before Demo Day, vetchat already had a single prototype that was live. But with only a week or two to go before the big event, we began split testing our existing product against a ‘hacked’ together text-based chat service. This approach was put together to work out what best serviced pet owners, as the current product’s conversion rate needed to be optimised. This was all about allowing us to benchmark a product for our MVP (minimum viable product).

So, at that stage, instead of knowing the exact direction forward, we needed to wait for the trial results. It felt a little like we may have taken a step backwards. Hopefully to take another two steps forward shortly after!


Demo Day was a different story. I had accepted that this was where we were at, and that the word of our customers would determine the best way to proceed post the trial. I felt very present and so excited to talk vetchat (and pets!) with the SheStarts partners in attendance.

The three hours went by super quick, with some great conversations and leads. Having the chance to get our product up in front of these partners and get real time feedback with acknowledgement and understanding was extremely validating.

team vetchat talking to people at demo day

(There wasn’t a moment without someone to talk vetchat with.)


Two weeks on, the product is still split across two different versions. One challenge has been to get enough traffic to the site to validate the data. Luckily we have the BlueChilli marketing experts on our side, helping us to generate traffic through social media and paid ads.

Together, we are working towards getting more pet lovers to the site, so we can work out the best way to help them (and their pets) through online vet advice. Testing and optimisation is never finished, but without data, we can’t make any of these tough decisions.

The vetchat and BlueChilli team

(Vetchat and BlueChilli united on Demo Day)

We are so excited at how the vetchat product is going to be moulded and optimised over the coming weeks, and to share with you the full demo day experience in next week’s episode.

To catch up on all the episodes and watch next week, stay tuned!

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