“Diversification may preserve wealth, but concentration builds wealth” - Warren Buffet.
That quote may be surprising to those who think of Buffet as a patient, long term investor who builds wealth only through risk averse strategies. While he is both patient and thinks long term, a big portion of his success can be credited to identifying winning companies early on, and betting big on them i.e. concentration.
If you study Buffet, he’s done this throughout his career by investing early on in the likes of Coca Cola, Kraft Heinz, Bank of America, and more recently Apple. He doesn’t just spread his dollars around equally, when he has conviction in a company, he doubles down and maximizes his exposure.
While your downside risk is certainly far lower through a diversification strategy, so is your upside, as any big winners receive a much smaller portion of your investment dollars.
If you’re a baseball fan, think of diversifying as hitting for a good batting average, whereas making concentrated investments is hitting for home runs.
The thing about “home run” investments though, is that by the time it’s obvious what they are, the upside is limited for new entrants. Those who invested early however are typically rewarded for taking that risk before the rest of the market has caught on.
At Oakscale, in July of 2020 we made a high conviction bet on the pet industry, specifically an emerging concept called PetWellClinic.
PetWellClinic is a walk-in veterinary clinic for dogs and cats. Unlike Buffet, this has little to do with picking stocks, but doing what we do best at Oakscale - picking emerging franchises. Our high-level thesis is that over the next decade, the healthcare system for our furry friends will closely resemble what is already built for us humans, and this franchise is in the perfect position to capitalize on that transition.
Why Pet Health Care?
For humans, if we get sick, we decide whether we need over-the-counter medication from a local convenience store, to see our primary physician, or, if it’s more serious, go to a full-service hospital / emergency room.
Compare this with dogs and cats, and your options are likely very limited to: schedule an appointment with a local vet or a full service pet hospital.
Imaging having an infection (like strep throat) that could be easily treated with an antibiotic, and the only options for getting the remedy were to check into the Emergency Room! Or even worse, having to wait a few weeks because there were no appointments available sooner..
In many areas around the country, if you own a dog or cat, this is how their health is being treated. There is no walk-in option.
Years ago the same case could be made for human care, but today that demand for quick, convenient, and affordable care for minor aches and illnesses is met with many options. See below for the top brands providing this service in the United States:
- Urgent Care: 9,600 locations
- Minute Clinic: 1,100 locations
- Clinics in Kroger, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens: 900 locations
That’s 11,500+ locations nationwide that you can receive walk-in care for minor illnesses, with no appointment necessary. Meanwhile for pets, there’s just a few sparse vet clinics trying to offer walk-in service on a national level, with none achieving anything close to significant market share.
In a world where on-demand and convenient services permeate every aspect of our life (Uber, Netflix, Amazon, etc.) the expectation of your average consumer in 2021 expects this same convenience across the board - including health care for their dogs and cats.
The Covid Accelerator
With or without covid-19, we were already bullish on PetWellClinic given the current gap in the market for an on-demand service, in addition to all the trendlines showing that the pet industry will experience healthy annual growth through the 2020’s3.
According to a 2019 APPA (American Pet Products Association) survey, 67% of U.S households already own a pet, which equates to 84.9 million homes4. With such high levels of pet ownership, this was the foundation from which the growth was expected over the next decade.
Since covid however, an estimated 11.38 million U.S. households have gotten a new pet during the pandemic, which is about a 13% increase in less than 12 months!
The impact of this cannot be understated. Pets, unlike the at-home fitness equipment you may have purchased while gyms have been closed, require a consistent dollar investment year round between food, grooming, and health care i.e. wellness check-ups, vaccines, and more.
What this means is that the companies offering services in pet health and wellness are benefiting now, but will also continue to benefit from these covid tailwinds over the 10 to 20 year lifetime of these new pets.
Progress Since July 2020
When we signed our agreement with PetWellClinic in 2020, they had 3 locations operating in Knoxville Tennessee, a fourth location under construction, and a 5th location being built by their first franchisee.
Fast forward to today, PetWellClinic has 5 total locations open for business, and we have a staggering 74 units in development nationwide. Details below.
- NJ: 1 unit
- Colorado: 12 units
- Pittsburgh: 10 units
- South Florida: 23 units
- New Hampshire: 3 units
- Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland: 25 Units
The units in development in such a short period of time (< 9 months) signals a ferocious appetite amongst business owners for this kind of concept, but is not what I would consider the most impressive statistic.
The most impressive development has been the quality of the franchisees joining PetWellClinic, and the conviction they’ve had to purchase large territories even at this early stage. We’re talking about seasoned franchise operators who have had massive success with other brands.
Take one of our recent franchisees, Alysse Scatturo, an owner of 14 OrangeTheory Fitness locations who will be developing 12 PetWellClinic's across the Denver metro area.
Alysse believes PetWellClinic has the right components to be the next big brand, saying “Our approach with OrangeTheory Fitness focused on the culture and put people before everything else, including our clients and our staff. PetWellClinic shares this approach and will result in natural growth.”
Unsurprisingly, we agree with Alysse’s analysis. When we looked at PetWellClinic, a few key strengths stood out to us that gave us belief that PetWellClinic has the potential to become the Urgent Care for dogs and cats.
First Mover Advantage
Put simply, the opportunity is still ripe for the taking as no brand has taken significant market share in the walk-in vet space on a national scale.
Through franchising, which Oakscale excels at, we are able to tap into investor capital and expand PetWellClinics footprint quicker than the competition. The 74 units we have in development in the last 8 months serves as validation of this.
Founder and Executive Team
PetWellClinic’s value based approach applies to their staff, and potentially even more so to their customer - where they have an obsession with providing the most transparent and highest quality service to pets and their owners. This commitment to customer service is evident in the experience at a location, and shows in their online presence.
This approach starts with Dr. Sam Meisler, Founder and CEO of PetWellClinic, who leads by example for his team.
Dr. Sam’s veterinarian and business ownership experience spans 30+ years and includes owning many pet businesses - from Amish horse farms to state-of-the-art pet hospitals - we could think of no better person to lead PetWellClinic.
The cherry on top for us was PetWell’s proprietary and innovative technology system that the business is run on. This system allows the business to run light on staff, as it controls everything from the virtual check-in queue, payment processing, automated email reminders to pet owners, and much more.
The software will be rolled out to all franchisees, and allows them to benefit immediately from the efficiencies it creates. We also expect it will enable the entire franchise system to adapt as needed in the future as modern pet care evolves over the coming years.
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If you’d like to join Oakscale and swing for the fences, we’re actively seeking multi-unit operators to help us expand our footprint and disrupt pet care across the country.
To request information, visit www.petwellfranchise.com