Meeting with Sophie Wilford (EDHEC EMBA 2020), See My Vet founder

Written on 10 Dec 2020.


 

What is Seemyvet‘s pitch?

Seemyvet is a veterinary telemedicine platform aiming at connecting veterinarians and their patients, and other veterinarians together. The platform allows to centralise, secure and valorise veterinary advices and monitoring.

 

How was the idea born ?

I’m a veterinarian myself and I worked in a clinic for almost 10 years. I faced some difficulties among which one was prominent: I spent a lot of time giving advices, and this time was hardly valued.. It’s an observation shared by my fellows and that is even stronger today as network multiply, and so do the meeting points (between veterinarians and their solicitations): mental load surely increases for veterinarian.

 

Tell us about your entrepreneur’s mind: is creating your own business something that you’ve always wanted?

On the contrary, I support the idea that you don’t need an “entrepreneur spirit” to become one. In the past, when I was asked if I ever wanted to have my own veterinary clinic, I would answer that my position of employee was perfect to me.
Eventually, I quit my job as a veterinarian and worked in a pharmaceutical firm for 5 years. That’s when I started developing this famous spirit: I was more and more in charge of projects, I started growing many ideas…
Then I had the chance of taking an EDHEC MBA where I perfected my knowledge in finance, marketing, but also my soft kills. It helped me develop my manager and leader side, which gave me confidence and grew my will to create my business.

 

What about Seemyvet's team ?

We have an amazing team which I’m very proud of. We are extremely complementary. Romain is a great developer, who I was lucky to meet at a CTO/CEO meeting. We got along right away, we spent time learning how to work together before engaging ourselves as associates. I’m very happy to share this adventure with him.

Séverine is awesome too. We worked together in the pharmaceutical firm. She’s in charge of Seemyvet’s marketing and communication. As for myself, I’m more responsible for the commercial side of marketing.

 

Who are your first clients ?

As Seemyvet is a tech platform, we firstly needed to test it. What we’ve wanted from the start was to develop something for the clients, and therefore avoid the path “we have a great idea, let’s develop it for months on and drop a fully finished version”.So we’re working with beta testers: 14 veterinarians from 10 clinics who follow our progress on the platform.
We haven’t sold the platform yet. Mostly because we had to give up an entire first version. Though we don’t regret it, because it allowed us to pivot and offer a better and more fitting product.However, we’ve received sale agreements outside from our beta testers, from veterinarians who heard about Seemyvet, and are ready to engage themselves as soon as it launches (hopefully in January 2021).

 

How do you deal with de sanitary crisis ?

It clearly impacted our activity since it started. I started developing Seemyvet in February 2020, just when the crisis enforced a worldwide lockdown. I was alone on my project, without any social contact at a moment when everything was slowed down.

Veterinarians were extremely busy, and clearly not available to involve themselves in the project. For all these reasons, it was a very hard time.On the other hand, there was some positive. Indeed, the sanitary crisis opened a reflexion from the sector about the potential of telemedicine for veterinarians.

I benefited from this slowed down period to learn more from Romain, my then future associate, and we concretised his integration as CTO. Now, we’ve experienced a very stimulating phase as a team in Station F until October, that is once again held back with the second wave, but we’re holding on to keep on track!

 

Appart from the current crisis, what is your insight on your sector ?

I have a very positive insight. Our mission is clearly to ease veterinarians’ lives: the platform makes communication easier, centralises everything and therefore decreases mental load, allowing veterinarians to better support juniors on the field. Veterinarian is part of the Top 10 jobs with the highest suicide rate. Few people know that, because it’s seen as a passion field, but it’s a position that is always getting harder. 80% of veterinarians are women which means the profession needs to adapt to their way of living. There’s still a 19% salary gap though… It’s a suffering profession and our mission is to smooth their everyday life.
After all, there will always be animals and we’ll always need to take care of them. But to do so, the people who nurse them need to be taken care of too.
There are many things to be done in the sector. So, apart from Covid and the difficulties it brings, I am very enthusiastic and positive about our mission, about what we can do and how we can help the sector evolve.

 

What can you tell us about the EDHEC Program at Station F?

I was lucky to be supported by the EDHEC Entrepreneurs program from the moment I got my idea. At that time, the coaching allowed me to directly hop on the right track. We worked on the project with the aim for us to pass the Pitch Test and enter Station F.

Station F is a 100 times better than what I even imagined! It’s a whole ecosystem where you meet very emotionally and intellectually fulfilling people. Everyone works with the same goal even though it’s for very different companies. Every person I’ve met there, no matter their sector, has brought me something positive, one way or another.

The mentoring we receive is also a key factor: if we meet any issue or need, there’s always someone or a resource to help us. This really got us to move forward faster than we expected.

 

Do you have anything to say to other MBAs who might want to create their business too?

To me, every road gets you somewhere, because even if it’s a dead-end one, you can always turn back. You can always turn back even when you’ve engaged yourself on one path, there’s always another way to go. You can move back.
My message is: go for it, take the risk, nothing is definitive, you can always take back your decision. Change a bit, change a lot. At least you won’t have regret. Even if you have a tiny idea, take the risk and talk about it! But give you the chance not to regret.

 

More information

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