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July 16, 2015

Direct Vet Marketing raises $52.3M in equity

file photo / TIM GREENWAY
file photo / TIM GREENWAY
Benjamin Shaw, CEO of Direct Vet Marketing/Vets First Choice in Portland, in March 2012. The recent $52-million-plus equity raise adds to earlier funding that will grow the company and its services.

Direct Vet Marketing Inc., a Portland-based veterinary services company that does business as Vets First Choice, has raised all of a $52.3 million equity funding, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission document.

Direct Vet, whose president and CEO is Benjamin Shaw, son of IDEXX Laboratories Inc. founder David Shaw, listed the first date of sale as July 2 of this year. A total of 33 investors participated in the offering.

Both Shaws were listed on the SEC Form D, along with representatives from existing investors Borealis, M. Gemi, Polaris and HLM Venture Partners.

However, the offering adds new investors Sarah Kim and Ravi Sachdev, both of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, a New York private investment firm with total investments of $21 billion in 63 businesses.

Vets First Choice said on July 2 that it had received a "significant investment" from CD&R and existing shareholders to accelerate and expand the company's services.

Benjamin Shaw did not respond to a request for information about how his company will use the funds before Mainebiz went to press. However, he did issue a prepared statement on July 2.

"We are excited for the opportunity to partner with the CD&R team to scale our network of veterinary practice partners, support the launch of new services and pursue strategic business development opportunities," Shaw said in the statement.

CD&R partner Sachdev also said in a prepared statement that his company wants to unlock significant value via new technology and services powered by the Vets First Choice platform. He has become a new member of the board of Vets First Choice.

This new funding adds to a filing earlier this year in which all of a $5.2 million equity offering was raised, with the first date of sale on March 10, 2015. Listed on that filing were both Benjamin and David Shaw, and representatives from existing investors HLM Venture Partners, Borealis and Polaris, M. Gemi and Sherbrooke Capital. The filing listed one unspecified investor as investing that $5.2 million.

Additionally, the company sold all of the close to $6.6 million equity offering to 28 investors with a first date of sale on June 4, 2013. It also raised all of a $3 million equity investment with a first date of sale on May 17, 2012 to one investor.

In the company's first Form D filing, it sold $1.15 million of a $2 million offering with a first date of sale of June 11, 2010. However, in an amended Form D filing in May 2012, it raised a little more than $2 million of a $3.3 million offering with the same first date of sale of June 11, 2010. Part of that aggregate offering was paid in connection with an acquisition.

Vets First Choice said in January 2012 that it had acquired VetCentric, a Maryland-based online veterinary pharmacy, for an unspecified amount.

Greater Portland has become a hub for veterinary-focused companies including Direct Vet Marketing/Vets First Choice, IDEXX and Putney Inc.

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