Dr Steve Merchant of IndieVets – local vets for local pets

Hopefully, after today, you’ll appreciate just what an asset Dr Steve Merchant is to the veterinary sector here in Godzone Aotearoa New Zealand.  There aren’t many people I’ll assign the word entrepreneurial to – but in Steve’s case I think he IS one of Godzone’s veterinary sector’s entrepreneurs. 

Free Lunch Giveaway – Lunch Shout

In honour of World Veterinary Day VetStaff is shouting lunch to one lucky kiwi veterinary clinic.

Entry is free – all you have to do is send an email to julie@vetstaff.co.nz with your answers to the following two questions – the answers to which are in the podcast.


What did Steve say was on first page of the IndieVets agreement?


What idea did Steve suggest ex business owners could do once they’ve sold their independent practices?

Send your answers + full contact details for you (so we know where to get lunch delivered if you’re the lucky winner) to julie@vetstaff.co.nz – subject line: “VetStaff Clinic Lunch Shout

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Introducing Steve Merchant

Companion Animal Veterinarian

Steve Merchant is innovative, with plenty of get-up-and-go.

Since he graduated from Massey in 1982 with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science, he’s seen a lot of changes in the veterinary sector.  He’s got a pretty good idea about what works and doesn’t work when it comes to running a successful veterinary practice here in Aotearoa.

Steve wears and has worn many veterinary-related business hats. 

Pet Doctors

He founded Pet Doctors – a kiwi success story still in existence today.  Whilst at Pet Doctors Steve is one of those behind Vet Nurse Plus – a vet nurse training institution.  


Today, he’s a current director and shareholder of the Medical Assurance Society and a current director of the SPCA.  

From 2005 to 2016, he was a Board member of the New Zealand Veterinary Association and served as Chair/President from 2013-2015.  After stepping down from these roles, he was recognised with the NZVA Outstanding Service Award.   

Steve has a wealth of experience in developing and implementing strategy, culture, new product development and innovative distribution channels.   Examples of his innovation include Pet Post – an online shopping portal for pet owners, which was way ahead of its time 20+ years ago.

Virtual Vet Nurse

Last year, he launched the Virtual Vet Nurse – named Sophie – a conversational chat bot developed with kiwi grown technology.  Vet Nurse Sophie can be deployed into any vet clinic where she can be cloned with a new name and/or gender.   Her main role is to support veterinary teams as a first point-of-contact for client enquiries. 


And not known for sitting still, this year Steve launched IndieVets – which is what first brought him to my attention.  IndieVets is a growing supportive community of NZs independently owned and operated veterinary clinics.  Its tagline is local vets for local pets.

In today’s show, Steve and I talk about IndieVets – which you can find at indievets.co.nz.


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