PWP Co-founder Makes HBJ 40 Under 40 List
On the heels of a $12.6 million capital raise that closed last year, Houston-based PetWell Partners LLC is keeping busy with expanding its reach nationwide, increasing its headcount and identifying new markets to move into.
PetWell, which was founded in 2013, likely isn’t a household name. The company acquired veterinary hospitals and clinics, usually operating those hospitals under its original branding. The company owns 28 total locations, 21 of which are in Texas. The remaining seven are either in Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Oregon, and the greater Washington, D.C., area, PetWell’s co-founder David Strauss said.
So far in 2018, PetWell has acquired two veterinary hospitals and plans to acquire at least six more properties this year, he said. The company recently hired two new employees – one in Houston and one based on the East Coast – to source potential acquisition opportunities for PetWell. The company’s acquisitions in 2018 will likely be contained in PetWell’s existing markets – though nothing’s guaranteed.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we were to open in more markets,” Strauss said.
The company’s still acquiring hospitals with the funds from its most recent capital raise which yielded $12.6 million, Strauss said, and it’s unclear when the company would need to launch another capital campaign. The first capital raise went through four rounds of funding, he said, and the company’s now backed 100 percent by individuals.
“We’re actually the only group of our size in the industry that does not have institutional backing, which I think gives us a distinct advantage,” Strauss said. “My partner and I call the shots.”
Before founding PetWell alongside his business partner, David Murvin, Strauss spent more than 10 years in a much different environment than he occupies now. He worked for Guggenheim Partners, an investment and advisory services firm, in roles that were based in New York and Europe. He decided to launch a company in the veterinary industry because, at the time, some of the operators in that field were either under-capitalized, lacked strategic planning or a concrete focus.
What Strauss didn’t expect was to feel a strong sense of satisfaction at PetWell.
“The people that are in this industry are so passionate about what they do,” Strauss said. “It attracts a really good group of folks. It’s nice to be able to have a tangible impact on people’s lives.”
PetWell Partners has 350 employees throughout its 28 veterinary hospitals and another 15 or 20 employees in its Rice Village headquarters. The company’s annual revenue is north of $30 million, Strauss said.
Closer look: David Strauss, co-founder, PetWell Partners LLC
Education: University of Michigan
Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
Worst piece of advice you’ve ever received: “Tough question, as I typically try to forget bad advice as soon as it is given.”
Guilty pleasure: “Leftover pizza in the morning.”
Favorite thing about Houston: “It’s a close tie between the winter weather, the food and how friendly Houstonians are. All have exceeded our expectations since moving here almost (three) years ago. We continue to be impressed by how much civic pride Houstonians have and the dedication they make to ensuring Houston is a world class city.”
Favorite Houston restaurant: Pondicheri
Fantasy career: “Something with a heavy amount of international travel.”
Check out the full article here: HBJ 40 Under 40 Class of 2018: David Strauss.