Barkibu: the future of pet health is in AI

It’s no surprise to anyone that pets are part of modern families. However, the myriad of pet health issues are generally underestimated and these can be quite costly.

The high cost of pet health care is an issue that Barkibu, a Spanish pet e-health startup, has been targeting for more than five years. After raising 4.7 million euros in early 2021 to fund expansion plans, including in the US and European markets, Barkibu now plans to become “the Apple Health of pet care” – and aims to raise Series A funding thereafter year.

They are well on their way to achieving that status, thanks to their cutting-edge AI-powered platform. Artificial intelligence technology identifies diseases in pets and records their information, helping both to reduce animal discomfort and dramatically increase the accuracy of diagnostic processes.

This e-health startup provides a service that has been indispensable throughout the pandemic, and 24/7 support and analysis will continue to be useful to pet owners beyond COVID.

The founders of Barkibu know this is a revolutionary time in the industry and they want to be on top of a global pet ecosystem that continues to grow and grow. The road has been long and exciting for the founders of this startup and they have a confession to make: they love animals and want the best for them.

The age of AI

Barkibu was founded in 2015 in La Coruña, a city in northern Spain, by Pablo Pazos, Patricia Seoane, Enrique Torres, lvaro Gutiérrez and María González. In the beginning, Barkibu was a marketplace for vets and clients to meet online.
consultation. At one point, they had 15,000 vets answering questions from around the world. They like to think they were an Uber for pet health care.

After a while, however, the founders of Barbiku realized that scaling would not be possible and their business model did not gain popularity. Seeking to pivot in another direction, they instead discovered in AI technology the possibility of
develop the way they needed to.

According to the founders of Barkibu, they can now diagnose and detect multiple diseases using their AI technology. With a huge amount of data recorded from real client cases, they can compare real symptoms of the same species and make an informed diagnosis.

Image credit: Barkibu

Barkibu offers two products. The first is a subscription service for consultations, as well as insurance to cover the costs. The second product is the Barkibu app where pet owners can talk to a chatbot or live with a video to a professional vet. This means pet owners can assess the severity of their cats or dogs’ health concerns, find the best clinic to visit if necessary, and discuss possible treatments – all without locking their pets in the car and without leave their home.

In other words, through a mixture of algorithms using real case data, Barkibu offers a telehealth platform with immediately available communication, as well as an understandable insurance product that can help homeowners. animals to cover the costs of
deal with illnesses and accidents.

While they might compare their product to Uber, the founders of Barkibu want to be clear: they don’t want to cut vet clinics out. Instead, they are brokers in the field of veterinary assistance, connecting pet owners and vets.

With monthly fees depending on the animal’s age, breed and other factors, insurance can cover up to $ 3,000 in pet health care.

Perhaps this is why Barkibu was the only pet startup invited to join the ITU-WHO Initiative on Artificial Intelligence for Health, an interagency collaboration between the World Health Organization. health and the ITU, which created a benchmarking framework to assess the accuracy of AI in health.

Let the pet money flow

At the start of 2021, Barkibu raised 4.7 million euros from funds such as TheVentureCity, MundiVentures, the CDTI Innvierte program and Leap Venture Studio. No surprise, given that the global pet market is expected to reach $ 255 billion by 2025.

This new money will help the company to grow and spread to other countries and regions. They already have the healthcare chatbot available in 30 countries, but the full subscription to clinic visits and insurance is so far only available in Spain.

It took a long time to develop the insurance product that Barkibu offers today. To do this, they teamed up with German company Munich Re, the largest reinsurance company on the planet, and over two years developed what is today one of their flagship products. With monthly fees depending on the animal’s age, breed and other factors, insurance can cover up to $ 3,000 in pet health care.

With a strong presence in Spain, Barkibu’s next steps include extending the insurance offering to European markets like Germany, France and the UK next year. Expansion into the United States will follow shortly thereafter, aided in part by American investors who have already joined us.

The founders of Barkibu are confident in how AI can reshape pet care for both owners and animals.

Marie R. McCraw