© Filu

Filu: The digital veterinary practice

Filu wants to become the leading provider of pet supplies in Germany. Founded in 2022, the three founders Anna Magdalena (Lena) Naderer (CVO), Christian Köhler (CEO) and Justus Buchen (COO) have already raised 5.1 million euros in a seed round. What exactly does the startup do and where is Filu headed? Find out in this interview.

Munich Startup: What does Filu do? What problem do you solve?

Lena Naderer, co-founder and CVO Filu: We are a next-gen, feel-good veterinary practice where employees feel just as comfortable as animals and pet owners. The well-being of pets, pet owners and our vets is equally important to us. Many vets and veterinary assistants move to other professions because the working conditions are not good.

As a result, the number of veterinary practices is stagnating or declining. This is despite the fact that there are more and more pets. The number of practices has remained at the level of around 10.000 for years. The situation is even worse for veterinary clinics. Here, the number has halved from 297 (2009) to around 150 (2022). At the same time, there are more and more pets in Germany. Their number rose from 22.6 million (2009) to 34.4 million (2022), an increase of over 50 percent.

With Filu, we want to tackle this deficit, improve and modernize veterinary care and the working conditions for veterinarians. Filu offers more creative opportunities, more exchange, more compatibility with family life, regulated working hours and, above all, a focus on physical and mental well-being and much more. We want to make the veterinary profession a dream job again.

Feel-good practices with all-round digital service

Munich Startup: But that already exists! 

Lena Naderer: Unfortunately not. Of course there are veterinary practices, but our approach and the idea are new, which is why we differ from conventional practices. A veterinary practice like Filu is completely different. But there are role models in the USA.

We differentiate ourselves by offering our employees attractive and, above all, healthy working conditions. We also want to establish our modern, feel-good practices in all major cities in Germany and perhaps even beyond. It is not only the feel-good atmosphere, the way we interact with each other and the modern medical equipment that are innovative – we also offer digital services and make everyday practice life smooth and digital. This offers our animal patients and their owners advantages and takes the pressure off our staff.

“We share a love of animals and a mission to think things differently and in new ways”

Munich Startup: What is your founding story? 

Lena Naderer: My co-founder Christian Uwe Köhler (CEO) and I are from Munich, Justus Richard Buchen (COO) is originally from Berlin. Justus and Christian have been friends since university. I got to know them both by chance and immediately realized that we were driven by the same vision. Together we can make a difference. We share a love of animals and a mission to think things differently and in new ways to make a positive impact.

We have joined forces to build the leading platform for animal health. Our mission is to make veterinary practices more efficient through technology while maintaining the quality of care.

Above all, we want to improve working conditions. The latter is particularly important to me personally. I myself am a vet and made this girl’s dream my profession. But then I had to learn that the framework conditions were not such that I could imagine working as a vet all my professional life, which is why I switched to the pharmaceutical industry. With Filu, I am now fulfilling my dream of a feel-good practice for animals, pet owners and especially veterinarians.

Filu: Rethinking medicine with animals in mind

Munich Startup: What have been your biggest challenges so far? 

Lena Naderer: Opening a practice involves a lot of paperwork. Suitable rooms have to be found and, of course, a lot of medical equipment has to be purchased, such as ultrasound and X-rays. Then we attach great importance to a pleasant design of the practice rooms. A lot has to be right and organized. In addition, we have to run the practice, which we are rethinking in a completely new and more digital way. That is a challenge. We also attach great importance to a team with the mindset of wanting to change things and reinventing the wheel together with us. We are talking about Filuneers who rethink medicine with a passion for animals.

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, where would you like to be in five years?

Lena Naderer: In five years, we will be the leading platform for animal health in Germany. When you think of modern veterinary medicine, Filu should be the first association.

Munich Startup: How have you experienced Munich as a startup location so far? 

Lena Naderer: Munich is a great city and, as a tech metropolis, is well suited as a startup location. But of course, the startup conditions can still be improved in one place or another. For example, by reducing bureaucracy. We also have a very positive experience of Munich thanks to our investors, as we have been able to make valuable contacts and friendships through their network and at events, who are there to support us in this challenge.

Scaling throughout Germany

Munich Startup: Quick exit or staying power?

Lena Naderer: We want to grow – and in a healthy way. You don’t build up a comprehensive practice network in a year. It’s also a lot of fun to see the changes we are bringing about. We definitely want to be part of these changes for even longer.

Helen Duran

Als Redakteurin ist die Wirtschaftsgeografin Helen Duran seit 2015 für Euch in der hiesigen Gründerszene unterwegs. Sie ist neugierig auf Eure spannenden Startup-Geschichten!

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