Arlene Dickinson’s District Ventures Capital invests in telemedicine service that offers on-demand video consultations with veterinarians

Mario ToneguzziDistrict Ventures Capital, led by well-known Calgary entrepreneur Arlene Dickinson, is providing $500,000 in seed funding for Healthy Pets, an Ontario-based telemedicine service that offers on-demand video consultations with veterinarians.

Dickinson will also join Healthy Pets as a board member.

The announcement followed an appearance on TV’s Dragons’ Den by Healthy Pets’ founder and CEO Emma Harris. Harris accepted an offer from Dickinson of $125,000 on the episode on CBC but the offer was later settled at $500,000.

Healthy Pets will use the funding to scale its operations and expand its network of veterinarians, offering services to more pets and pet parents across Ontario and Canada, it said.

“Nearly 63 per cent of Canadian millennials own pets, and as the parent of a pet that has experienced health issues, I understand the stress that comes with trying to recognize when it is or isn’t time to visit the clinic. It’s those first-hand experiences that inspired me to start Healthy Pets,” said Harris in a news release.

Emma Harris, founder and CEO of Healthy Pets

“Appearing on Dragons’ Den gave me an incredible opportunity to connect more Canadians with vets through telemedicine and I couldn’t be more excited to work with Arlene and the team at District Ventures Capital.”

Dickinson said she was impressed with the idea and Harris’s passion for it.

“Her entrepreneurial spirit is infectious,” said Dickinson, CEO of District Ventures Capital and a Dragons’ Den star. “Healthy Pets’ innovative approach to pet care and the growing pet services industry in Canada made it an ideal business for my fund, District Ventures Capital, to invest in and partner with. We are very much looking forward to seeing the growth of this business and to working closely with Emma.”

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

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