January 4, 2024

Heart + Paw Receives Significant Strategic Growth Investment from Whistler Capital Partners

Heart + Paw, an innovative veterinary and multi-service pet care company has announced a significant strategic growth investment from Whistler Capital Partners, a leading healthcare-focused private equity firm. Heart + Paw will continue to be led by its existing management team, including Founder and Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. George Melillo and Chief Executive Officer, Dave Lasus. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 2018, Heart + Paw is a differentiated, rapidly growing pet care services platform offering veterinary care, grooming, day care and boarding. Operating a growing network of 28 locations across 10 states, Heart + Paw is focused on modernizing the pet healthcare experience and championing veterinarian ownership through a continuation of its veterinarian joint venture de novo model that places quality medicine, technology enablement and a reimagined experience for pets, pet parents and veterinarians at the core of its operations.

The company is deploying an innovative partnership program that makes veterinary practice ownership attainable for entrepreneurial-minded veterinarians. Through this model, veterinarians can design, build and co-own a Heart + Paw practice with veterinary-led operational support from Heart + Paw’s dedicated team that provides expanded business expertise, mentorship, a community of like-minded practice owners and best-in-class operational support.

“At Heart + Paw, we’ve experienced rapid growth by partnering with veterinarians to bring comprehensive, best-in-class care to pets up and down the East Coast,” said Dave Lasus. “We are thrilled that this partnership with Whistler Capital will enable us to capitalize on the many opportunities to collaborate with entrepreneurial veterinarians seeking to co-own their own Heart + Paw practice tailored to their skill set and expertise.”

“The founding ethos behind Heart + Paw was to build a veterinary practice that treats everyone as family and recreates the companion animal care experience for pets, their parents and those dedicated to providing the highest level of care. We pride ourselves on Heart + Paw’s veterinarian-led operating culture and trusted brand that can meet most clinical and non-clinical needs for discerning pet parents in one familiar destination,” said Dr. George Melillo. “We’ve worked hard to execute on this strategy and look forward to partnering with Whistler Capital to spur our next chapter of growth and further invest in initiatives that drive quality medicine, enhanced operations and value for our veterinary care teams.”

Each of Heart + Paw’s practices are backed by the company’s Support Center, providing innovative client engagement initiatives, including a pet portal and proprietary booking tool, allowing for 24/7 contact between pet parents and veterinarians. The Support Center also handles marketing, accounting, human resources, recruiting and information technology workstreams, enabling each Heart + Paw veterinarian team the freedom to practice the highest level of care and grow a practice – improving and deepening their relationships with pets and their pet parents.

“We are excited that Heart + Paw is joining the Whistler Capital portfolio and expect our team’s deep expertise assisting founders and management teams to positively transform this business. Over the past decade, members of the Whistler Capital team have partnered with companies in the healthcare industry to improve access, quality and experience and we are pleased to support H+P’s continued growth and aligned mission,” said Geoff Clark, Managing Partner at Whistler Capital.

“We are delighted to partner with Dave, Dr. Melillo and the rest of the team to continue Heart + Paw’s growth and goal to revolutionize the experience for consumers and veterinarians,” commented Chris Hardy, Principal at Whistler Capital. “We look forward to leveraging our healthcare, technology and consumer expertise to support de novo growth, empower aligned veterinarians to pursue their passion and create an unrivaled experience for all stakeholders.”

Raymond James served as exclusive financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis served as legal advisor to Heart + Paw. Citi served as financial advisor and Bass, Berry & Sims served as legal advisor to Whistler Capital.

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