Co-Founder Featured in “Houston’s Most Inspiring Stories”
Today we’d like to introduce you to David Strauss.
Thanks for sharing your story with us David. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My business partner, David Murvin, and I identified an opportunity to help veterinarians at various points in their career life-cycle. While baby-boomer veterinarians are looking to retire, the next generation of vets is generally reluctant to be a small business owner. The younger generation is mostly interested in having a healthy work-life balance. We established PetWell Partners in 2013 to deliver optimal outcomes to both groups, all while allowing the doctors to focus on medicine and our team to handle the administrative needs of the hospitals.
We started slowly with our first location in Houston. Today we have over 25 locations in four different time-zones. Ten of our hospitals are in Houston. While Texas will continue to be our core market, our long-term vision includes expanding throughout the US in a thoughtful manner.
It was not easy to get launched, but we worked hard to develop credibility and a strong reputation throughout the veterinary profession. We take great care to ensure our selling vets will remain proud of their clinics for years and decades after the transition. We believe this to be our most valuable asset, and continue to focus on it every day.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Before launching we spent nearly a year researching the veterinary profession to understand what factors would lead us down a successful path. At the end of that effort, we determined success would be driven by (i) best medicine for the pet, (ii) positive client experiences, and (iii) positive relationships with our veterinary partners. Focusing on this roadmap has helped us avoid many mistakes that we have witnessed from others.
All of that being said, we have certainly hit some bumps in the road. The ones that take the most time and attention relate to people. We have worked hard to build a strong, positive culture throughout our organization. However, sometimes we come across people that aren’t a good fit for what we are trying to achieve. Everyone on our team makes decisions every day with Happy, Healthy Pets in mind.
Please tell us about PetWell Partners.
PetWell Partners is a fast-growing acquirer and operator of veterinary clinics. We operate 26 veterinary practices (10 in Houston, 10 in DFW, 2 in Virginia, 2 in Arizona, 1 in Oregon). Our central office in Rice Village supports our clinic operations with accounting, HR, IT & marketing. This enables our veterinarians to focus on what they do best: providing the best medical care to our patients.
I have never been prouder of the PetWell Partners team than how they reacted during Hurricane Harvey. Once the roads were passable, we reopened all of our Houston locations so that we could serve the community’s needs. In the days immediately after the storm, teams from all of our Houston clinics banded together to offer free care to those pets that were impacted by Harvey.
Our culture is what sets us apart from our competitors. We make sure to always listen and evaluate, learn and collaborate, and make changes together. This starts from the top-down, but the foundation is built by everyone doing their part. By working on it every day we continually seek to strengthen our positive culture.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
When I was a child, my Aunt’s Labrador Retriever had puppies. I was so excited when we got to bring one of them home. Despite being the runt of the litter, Addie had a heart the size of Alabama and more energy than you could believe. Whether it was swimming in the lake or playing ball, she loved to follow us around as kids. We loved Addie like a sister.