Member Feature: Andrew Luna From Hound

Member Feature: Andrew Luna From Hound

Member Feature
July 6, 2022

Andrew Luna (third from the right) and the Hound team.

Every month we feature some of our Everything Marketplaces community members to help highlight their story, marketplace journey, and share more about what's ahead.

In this member feature we highlight Andrew Luna, who's the Co-founder & CEO of Hound. Hound is a marketplace that's reinventing the future of work in veterinary medicine. Hound has quickly scaled as a marketplace and is being used by 2,000+ practices and 5,000+ veterinary professionals, just a year after launch.

So what’s your background briefly and what led to the idea for starting Hound?

I’ve worked in veterinary medicine for over a decade. When I first started college, I thought I wanted to become a veterinarian, so I started working in veterinary practices during undergrad. I sadly realized there were some big issues in our industry and decided to pursue entrepreneurship instead of my veterinary degree.

I continued working in veterinary practices to pay for my business degree and before graduating, I invented and patented a pharmaceutical packaging solution. I started a company while still in college, but failed to commercialize our product. After graduating, I went on to help open and sell a group of veterinary hospitals, launch TripAdvisor’s eatigo in Phuket, Thailand (the OpenTable of Asia), and scale and exit a leading global veterinary software company.

After launching, scaling, and exiting multiple veterinary & technology companies, it became crystal clear - the people of veterinary medicine deserve so much better. We started hound to modernize veterinary medicine and create the future of work for our industry.

What were some of the first steps you took to start Hound? What were some of the biggest challenges that you faced?

We started with tons of research and interviews, and knew as a company we wanted to be very community-driven. Pre-launch, we started pet care collective, a community for pet care professionals which quickly grew to hundreds of members. This allowed us to create a network of professionals we could do research with, onboard as early users (and pre-seed investors!), and partner with to help us raise awareness.

Capturing veterinary professionals in a supply-constrained market is tough. We’ve figured out some great ways to do it, but early on attracting professionals to our platform was really hard. We had to make sure there were enough opportunities for the talent to be attracted to the marketplace, and curation had to be strong so talent didn’t just look and leave.

What's the problem that you’re solving for and how has building Hound as a marketplace proven to be a great solution?

We’re improving veterinary workforce satisfaction and access to veterinary care. Pet care is a big and awesome industry ($123B US spending in 2021, $275B by 2030), but it comes with big challenges. Mars Veterinary Health has predicted that by 2030 there will be 75 million US pets without access to care. Driving factors behind this include workforce challenges and a lack of modern solutions for delivery of care.

Recruiting and retention is the biggest challenge in veterinary medicine today. Our professionals turn over twice as frequently as human healthcare providers, and only 11% of veterinary employees are satisfied with culture. We’re building modern talent solutions designed specifically for veterinary professionals to help them work how they want, and love the work they do.

We’ve started with a modern recruiting platform, and in just over six months we surpassed the industry incumbent with more professionals and more employers on our platform. We’ve helped professionals find employers of choice in their hometowns, and have also helped many relocate across the country with attractive relocation packages.

We are leading the movement to create a more sustainable workforce and modern access to care. With our community, we’ve published the ultimate guide for awesome culture in veterinary medicine, the veterinary culture manifesto, and dozens of other resources promoting a healthy workforce. We are preparing to launch our retention platform this year to help transform veterinary culture, and our at-home care solutions will begin piloting in 2023.

How have you approached solving for the cold start problem that we all face as marketplaces?

A lot of legwork! For us starting out as a recruiting platform, the hard side is professionals. They can be tough to capture in general, but that’s especially true if you have no employers or no relevant jobs on your platform to pull them in.

We started with a concentrated geographical focus. We identified the markets most densely-populated with veterinary practices, and started manually posting jobs each day to match what was being posted to the other large job boards. We then started to feature these jobs on social media and our community to capture professionals in specific markets.

From there, we executed a referral program to get professionals in targeted cities to invite their friends to join as well. As more professionals started joining and building density in cities, employers started getting more notifications and applications from hound. This naturally pulled in the employers (the easy side), who started using hound regularly and posting more jobs themselves, which attracted more professionals, and the flywheel was set. We have copy and pasted this strategy in over 30 markets, and now new markets have launched themselves without any additional efforts from our team.

What's been the biggest learning so far?

UX Research is your friend. Talk to users and potential users as much as possible. People seem to really enjoy giving their ideas and feedback, and when you’re able to implement what they request, you can tell it’s a special experience for them. They feel heard and typically become strong evangelists. We’ve learned that users are okay getting started with far fewer features than what we want to ship, and they highly value their input impacting feature releases (and knowing it has).

How big does Hound get and what’s needed to get there?

We are building a multi-billion dollar business. We have to get a lot of things right to get there, but the most important piece is veterinary professionals. By deeply partnering with veterinary workers and practices, we are building out a very rich supply of specialized talent. We will continue developing solutions that unlock the potential of veterinary care providers and help them love their work and deliver more care, while creating billions in economic value.

What’s exciting and ahead for Hound that you can share with us?

Since our launch in Q4 2021, we successfully oversubscribed our Pre-Seed round and completed the world’s top pet care accelerator program (put on by Mars, which is the world’s largest owner and operator of veterinary practices). We are now raising our Seed round and preparing to launch our veterinary culture and retention product. Over 100 veterinary practices are already waitlisted for this next product, and we plan to grow from 30 to 50 markets by the end of the year. With that said, we have lots of exciting news coming up that we'll be sharing more on soon!

Connect with Andrew in the Everything Marketplaces community.