LDC Top 50 2020
Victoria Johnson and Julien Labruyère
Founder and Director
Veterinary radiologist Victoria Johnson began taking on extra cases around her day job in 2008. A year later, she was inundated with work and created telemedicine venture VetCT.
From a one-woman band, the company now engages 155 specialists and clients include Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Victoria and her husband Julien, who joined in 2011, run the company together and have created a truly international business, supporting veterinary practices from offices in the UK, US and Australia. “We love being entrepreneurs, running a business that helps pets, vets, and animal owners around the world,” says Victoria. “Every time we hear that we’ve helped a vet and their patient, it’s incredibly motivating.”
Tell me about your sole purpose when you started VetCT?
Victoria: The business was actually a side project at first. I’m a veterinary radiologist and in 2008 I started helping some vets out with their trickier cases; it’s a bit like when your GP sends your scans to a consultant. I was the specialist that would review radiographs (X-rays), MRI and CT scans and give advice. I got busier and busier and ended up creating a limited company in 2009. We have tried to be disruptive with VetCT, but in a good way. The veterinary industry is very special and is filled with lovely, caring people; our goal has been to support our colleagues in the veterinary profession and bring GP vets and specialist vets closer together in new ways.
What’s so unique about VetCT?
Julien: We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Even if your dog eats tinsel off the tree on Christmas day, we’ll be there to help your vet give the right treatment. We operate at the premium end of the market. All of our 155 consultants are Diploma-holding specialists as well as excellent vets and they are really focused on teaching and collaboration. We cover all kinds of specialisms, from radiology to neurology, ophthalmology to surgery. We are also releasing an app later this year that will give veterinarians quick instant access to all sorts of specialists. It will be a sort of virtual specialist hospital.
Is it ever challenging running a business with your spouse?
Victoria: It’s been interesting because we have two children and the business feels like our third child in many ways! One of the big advantages is trust: you know you are working towards the same goals and have a shared purpose. But sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming.
Julien: We try not to discuss work after 8pm or around the kids. We also have one disconnected holiday a year where we turn our phones off and focus on family time.