Chicagoans get to vet a shared vet service and other innovations

BY SANDRA GUY

sandraguykolina@gmail.com


Since Eyal Zukovsky was 8 years old, he knew he wanted to start new ventures and build new concepts.

He even sought to one-up his older brothers by designing a system that his dad could use to monitor the time his teen-aged siblings talked on the phone, since their socializing resulted in big charges 25 years ago.

“In those days, a meter on phone calls was innovative,” said the 33-year-old entrepreneur who uses a WeWork shared space in Tel Aviv, Israel, as headquarters for his latest venture.

That venture – VetMyHood — acts as a Via of Vets. The web and mobile platform connects dog owners to veterinarian services  at a 35-percent cost savings, on average. The idea started after Zukovsky adopted Bella, a half-border collie, half Belgian shepherd mix, who Zukovsky takes to work and loves as a new family member.

In Israel, dog owners pay a yearly subscription of $200 to $300 (U.S. dollars) to subscribe to veterinary services that cover the dog’s vaccinations to protect against rabies, parkworm and other diseases.

Zukovsky researched the cost of those vaccinations and found that the actual cost of the materials was far less. So he decided to set up a “ride share” of sorts by offering veterinary house calls to any group of dog owners who paid to negotiate a time for their dog to get vaccinated. The yearly cost is $130 U.S. dollars.

So far, Zukovsky has registered six vets who make the vaccination house calls, and the service, called “VetMyHood,” also includes cat owners.

“We want to create ‘packs’ of pet owners,” he said. “They get better deals, whether it’s for vet treatments or dog food or dog walkers.”

He aims to reach 5 percent of Israeli dog owners, or 25,000 people, by the end of the 2018.

Zukovsky’s startup is one of six hailing from the Coller School of Management’s MBA program at Tel Aviv University. The university chose the six to travel to Chicago for a new, two-week acceleration program hosted by 1871, Chicago’s tech startup hub.

The acceleration program, which kicks off Sept. 5, is designed to engage and encourage a new generation of innovators from Israel.

The IDEAS (Israel, Digital, Entrepreneurs, Arts and Science) Immersion program, hosted by Tel Aviv University, partners with North American-based tech, entertainment and scientific business leaders, angel investors and venture capitalists to serve as mentors.

The other startups are:

·     PANCHO: A mobile app that connects tourists with emergency services in any location. Represented by Moran Sverdlov and Daniel Yom Tov.

·     TFRESH: An on-the-go toothbrush/breath freshener. Represented by Hila Afriat Lauterbach.

·     PRforALL: Software that enables targeted queries for media personalities. Represented by Mor Aviram and Tamar Shlimak.  

·     KINDR: A daycare finding platform for parents. Represented by Aviv Lazar. 

·     Castor: A three-dimensional button that creates gaming characters, merchandise and do-it-yourself items. Represented by Omer Blaier.

The entrepreneurs will present their ideas at a showcase event that’s open to the public at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 15 (See IDEAS Immersion. Advance registration is required. To attend, please contact Nadine Cohen at ncohen@aftau.org or call 773-562-5474.

The international exchange shows it’s a big world with lots of cities that warmly welcome startups.

A new survey by London-based Nestpick critiqued 85 cities worldwide to rank the best ones for quality of life for those employed by the tech startup industry.

One benefactor of a new startup is Chicago, which ranked 44th overall. The top cities based on salaries, cost of living, quality of life and other factors placed Singapore No. 1, noted for its health care, safety and an ecosystem full of professional opportunities; Helsinki, Finland No. 2, scoring well for social security and quality of life, and San Francisco No. 3.

Tel Aviv ranked No. 6, placing just behind No. 4 Berlin, Germany, and No. 5 Stockholm, Sweden.