By Mark Tullis | Posted - Jun 15th, 2023





Oliver Raises $575K From Startup Ignition Ventures

Oliver, a B2B SaaS workflow startup founded by Stephen Lytle, John Kendrick, and Tyler Bowers, recently received a $575,000 seed investment from Startup Ignition Ventures. The Utah-based team has also received investment from a handful of other angel investors along the Wasatch Front. 

“Our fund is carving out a niche in the Utah venture ecosystem as a prolific investor in pre-seed B2B SaaS workflow software startups that follow lean principles,” said Startup Ignition Ventures’ managing partner John Richards. “Oliver is a classic single-actor B2B SaaS business model that can deliver a dominant product and capture a significant market share, often converting formerly paper and pencil or Excel-dependent operations. We believe Stephen and his team can deliver.”

Stephen Lytle, Oliver's CEO, started his career in tech at DealerSocket, a software provider for automotive dealerships. At DealerSocket, Lytle met Oliver co-founder, John Kendrick.

Lytle's, Bowers', and Kendrick’s careers include experience in workflow automation and management in other industry sectors including legal, automotive, government HR, and real estate. This experience is being put to good use in the veterinary vertical and related sectors known to lack automation.

In 2022, Lytle had a personal experience that inspired him to start his own software company. John Kendrick (CRO) and software engineer, Tyler Bowers, joined Oliver later as co-founders.

The idea for Oliver came about when Lytle, a new dog owner took Ruby, a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, to vet clinics for her vaccinations, wellness checks, follow-up visits, etc. Lytle observed cumbersome and antiquated workflows within the clinics. He also found that communication practices were lacking. 

“The patient experience in healthcare clinics really hasn't changed much over the past few decades,” Lytle observed. “We're still sitting in a waiting room filling out a form on a clipboard and, for some reason, patients have to fill out the same form for every visit.”

Lytle says the same is true with vet clinics. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, 70% of U.S. households now own a pet. This increase in demand has put a strain on veterinary clinics, which are often understaffed and have outdated technology. As a result, clients are often faced with long wait times, and staff members are stressed and burnt out. 

“We contacted over one hundred independently owned or small-network vet clinics to validate our hypothesis that the Oliver platform will help make practices more efficient and improve the pet-owner experience,” reports Lytle. “Most vet clinics are bursting at the seams. We found that their front office business practices and workflows are highly inefficient,” he continued.

Lytle, Kendrick and Bowers formed Oliver in August 2022 as a B2B SaaS software platform designed to automate some of those inefficient vet clinic processes.

In February of this year, the three founders signed up their first beta customers who have been using their beta version for free with the expectation that they would provide real-world customer feedback to the Oliver team. 

Last month, Oliver implemented its first paying customer, a pet clinic in South Dakota, after having received substantial feedback from beta customers about improvements and new features to their product.

“We’re first building out a more robust feature set to automate the front office tasks such as appointments, text messaging, service reminders, and automated forms to replace the printed PDFs that new clients traditionally would fill out in a waiting room,” says Lytle.

Oliver is currently serving the 32,000 veterinary clinics in the US. Lytle says nearly half of them are not using an online scheduler. “They're trying to find a solution. Some are using a generic online form for appointment requests but half of them don't have anything. Pet owners just have to call the clinic.” These same challenges and trends are present in human health care as well, which could provide unique growth opportunities for Oliver. 

“We believe that 32,000 vet clinics is a great number,” Richards contributed. “We invested in foreUP, a premiere software company in the golf course vertical, and it has a worldwide potential customer count of 25,000 and captured a few thousand before having a massive exit.”

At first Lytle, Kendrick and Bowers thought their value proposition was to get vet clinics more appointments, “They definitely didn't like that,” said Kendrick. “They have plenty of appointments to keep them busy. Getting more appointments is not the metric that clinics care about. We have spent the last handful of months understanding their real pain points in the front office, and reducing phone calls is at the top of the list along with becoming more efficient and creating a better client experience. That is what clinics want most and that is where we can help them.”

“Clinics can’t keep up with the calls. The front desk is a hectic, stressful situation for clinic employees,“ says Bowers. “With a modern solution like Oliver, pet owners can be sitting on the couch at 8 p.m. and book an appointment within 30 seconds. They don’t have to talk with anyone or worry about playing phone tag. Oliver makes it simple and easy for both the clinic and the pet owners.”


Mark Tullis
About the Author

Mark Tullis - Mark is Co-founder and Editor of TechBuzz News. Born and raised in Ogden, Utah, Mark attended Weber State, Brigham Young, and Tufts Universities. He has been involved in tech, media, publishing and education since the 1980s. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, and playing the saxophone.



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