SOPet, an online veterinary clinic and popular startup that gives instant advice on pet issues, is the brainchild of Chulalongkorn University‘s sophomore students in the Bachelor of Arts and Science in Integrated Innovation (BAScii) degree, under CU Innovation Hub – a highlight of the strength of the social enterprise, fast, reliable, and affordable. Based on the life experience of pet owners who need urgent advice and assistance in times of crisis but are unable to rush to the clinic or veterinary hospital in time, SOPet was created.
“BAScii is an international program with an emphasis on integrated innovation and business operations under the support of CU Innovation Hub. The program offers a course called Project Seed which students are required to take, and we must form our own start-up company as a project,” said Chwin Wiriyasophon, one of the founders of SOPet, talking about the inception of the project. Their key advisors are Dr. Ronakorn Waiyawut, program instructor, and Dr. Teerakorn Ananthothai – Chief Innovation Officer and Co-Founder of Globish Startup Company.
“An idea for SOPet came from a friend, also the co-founder, who had experienced a problem when he couldn’t take his pet to the vet because his house was flooded. Plus, we’re all pet lovers, so we came up with the idea of an online veterinary business,” said Chwin, Managing Director of SOPet, while introducing 5 co-founders and 3 other team members: Napat Xiangliu, Wachirawit Siridechanon, Chananya Asawawararit, Chosiya Losuwankul, Phakamon Inthanilom, Emiri Hiraoka, Pusadee Prasertwit and Korpong Ruengwattanakul.
“We share business operations responsibilities without them affecting our studies. Though this project is already a part of our courses, we try to find some extra time to take care of the business every day. We outsource the admin work as well.”
Chwin explained that the current SOPet service model is still at the stage of an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) that offers services through a Facebook page.
“We are testing the market first, and soon, we will be introducing the website. Customers can send messages via Facebook chat. We have an assigned person to recommend how to choose the type of services and coordinate with veterinarians whose expertise matches the needs of customers. We have a network of over 20 veterinarians (selected from more than 80 applicants) who can offer consultation within 5-10 minutes
Chwin said that after about a year of service, the feedback has been highly satisfactory. Based on service evaluation scores in a survey of more than 1,400 pet owners, over 98% rated SOPet as “very good”.
SOPet focuses on giving advice through online channels via chat, voice call and video call.
For the future plan of this social enterprise, SOPet’s founding team hopes to develop an online medical service system (Telemedicine) that is top-of-mind of customers across the country. They may sign memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with agencies such as the Faculty of Veterinarian Sciences to develop a shared-service platform in the future.
“We have to thank every important party that has made this startup a reality — our friends from BAScii who have been by my side, ready to adapt and fight together all along; our teachers and mentors who spared their time to give us advice and believed in us since day one. Also, thanks to all the faculty members, staff members, BAScii executives, and all our friends at CU Innovation Hub for their support,” said Chwin.