Vet Care Financing FinTech Scratch Raises $35 Million
With pet care being a necessity for millions of Americans, a startup that enables pet owners to get their furry friends the services they need by helping them finance the cost has closed a new round of funding. This week, Scratch Financial announced that it had raised $35 million. The Series C was led by Norwest Venture Partners, with Alumni Ventures, Companion Fund, Struck Capital, SWS Venture Capital, TTV Capital, and others also participating. According to Scratch, the new funding will be earmarked for developing new technology that will improve the medical provider and client experience.
Founded in 2016, Scratch offers what it calls “care now, pay later” — similar to the immensely popular “buy now, pay later” model. With the service, pet owners can pay for veterinary care upfront and pay off the bill over time. Their main “Take Five” no-interest payment plan is broken into five installments, including a down payment due upon approval and four subsequent payments due every two weeks. Additionally, the company also offers 12 and 24 month plans with variable interest rates.
Currently, Scratch partners with one-third of veterinary practices in the United States and Canada, amounting to more than 10,000 practices. Moreover, the FinTech states that it is on track to have processed nearly $1 billion in patient payments by the end of this year.
In a press release about the funding round, Scratch co-founder and CEO John Keatley explained the mission of the brand, stating, “Financial inclusion has always been a goal for our company—helping connect more people with transparent and personalized financing options to get the care they need for themselves or their loved ones.” Keatley added, “I am incredibly proud of Scratch’s evolution, and this new funding will be instrumental in helping us create new products and better experiences to redefine the end-to-end patient experience.”
As for what Northwest Venture Partners saw in the startup, principal Ryan McDonald said of Scratch, “We are excited to partner with Scratch Financial as the company expands to provide flexible and easy financing to more patients and pet parents. Not only does the leadership team have deep experience with disruptive FinTech companies, they also understand the challenges that patients face when financing medical services—from convoluted processes and delays to multiple credit card or loan applications. Scratch is well positioned to lead the market by simplifying the patient experience and streamlining veterinary and medical practice needs through a platform that combines payments, care financing and intuitive SaaS tools.”
Scratch’s funding round happens to come on the heels of a new LendingTree survey that showed the financial impacts that pet owners are currently facing. Three-quarters of those surveyed noted that inflation had made pet ownership more expensive in recent months, with 26% stating that they were now struggling to afford their pet’s needs. In turn, 23% reported going into debt to continue paying for pet essentials.
Looking at Scratch Financial’s figures, it’s obvious that the company is making a name for itself among vet practices across the country (and beyond). Although other “buy now, pay later” solutions might technically be available to use for vet service, Scratch’s partnerships with practices seem to be paying off when it comes to gaining customers. Notably, that’s likely why the company says it’s focusing on improving integration as it adds these funds to its coffers. Overall, with this Series C, Scratch seems poised to continue its climb — and hopefully help pet owners in the process.