Equine MediRecord has the breeding to keep horses in perfect health

23 Apr 2018

Equine MediRecord winning the under-30s category at the ITBA Expo 2018 at Goffs. From left: Aislinn De Barra, AIB; Pierce Dargan, Equine MediRecord; Simon Hillary, Equine MediRecord; and Seán Gallagher, Dragons’ Den. Image: Caroline Norris

Our Start-up of the Week is Equine MediRecord, which has created a digital platform that allows breeders and trainers to safely manage medication for horses.

“Equine MediRecord develops, sells and maintains a mobile application, website and database to allow for the proper recording of medicines regulatory documentation in the equine industry,” explained Equine MediRecord co-founder Pierce Dargan.

As a third-generation racehorse owner and breeder, Dargan was only too familiar with the paper-based systems used to record the administration of medication or supplements to a horse.

‘Any medication given to any sporting animal will be digitally recorded in our system, increasing transparency and animal welfare around the world’

Future Human

This led Dargan and co-founder Simon Hillary to develop Equine MediRecord, a digital platform that allows breeders and trainers to record such information from their mobile phone.

Once given permission by trainers and stud managers, industry regulators can review such data remotely without the need to visit each yard.

Crucially, Equine MediRecord has been approved by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board and the British Horseracing Authority as the first and only non-paper-based system to meet current regulation requirements.

The market

“We are targeting the equine industry where 16.2m horses in North America and Europe alone still have their medical regulatory documents on paper,” Dargan said.

“Our solution would help all trainers stay compliant with relatively new regulation, and allow them to focus on doing what they love.”

The team

Dargan (CEO) is a scholarship graduate of history and political science from Trinity College Dublin (TCD), where he also received a first in his MSc in business and management. Dargan also won the Alltech Innovation competition at TCD in 2016. He has previous experience in sales with Red Bull and Tilt.com.

Simon Hillary (CTO) is a TCD graduate of computer science and business. He has worked on multiple projects with the Irish Government focused around workflow optimisation through information technology. He has planned, developed and managed the roll-out of custom electronic program guide generation software, a custom helpdesk suite for taking archive request bookings and archive request data analysis.

Finlay Dargan, CFO, graduated in business, economics and social studies in TCD, and obtained a master’s degree in international business from the HEC Paris. He has worked as a business strategy consultant, and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

The technology

The Equine MediRecord system is built on an iOS and web application linked to a digital database.

“This provides all of the same functionality in terms of the records that are kept, in addition to increased ease of use and notifications for trainers, assistants and vets,” Dargan explained.

“Any delegated worker or vet who is authorised by the trainer through the application can fill out the relevant information.”

Dargan said the ultimate goal is for any medication given to a sporting animal to be digitally recorded in the Equine MediRecord system, “increasing transparency and animal welfare around the world”.

Clearing hurdles

“We have been overwhelmed by the response we have had from the industry,” Dargan said.

“We have paying customers, a UK launch scheduled in the next month, and discussions with regulators within and outside of Europe. We are talking with a number of investors and companies within our space who are interested in partnership and investment in our company.”

Dargan explained that, as a regulatory technology, it was very difficult getting the approvals from all the various regulators and important stakeholders within the equine industry.

“We had to go through a number of votes and approval processes to ensure that our product would be deemed compliant.

“As we were the first and only equine regulatory compliance system globally, it is also a challenge to convince some people that this is the way the industry needs to move forward to help ensure the integrity of the sport for the future.”

Surviving the start-up steeple chase

Dargan describes the Irish start-up scene as very active.

“There are so many great incubators, accelerators, competitions and events that Irish start-ups are able to access. We think start-ups in Ireland are very fortunate because of the wealth of experience that is present, from highly successful SMEs to large multinationals. We really believe it is one of the best countries to launch a start-up.”

Dargan pointed out that there are so many great programmes that can really help in scaling businesses within and outside of Europe.

His advice to fellow founders is to get to as many start-up events as you possibly can because you never know who you will meet and what opportunities you will discover.

“Talk to everyone, and don’t be afraid to share your idea with those who might be able to help.”

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Updated, 8.59am, 23 April 2018: This article was updated to correctly identify Seán Gallagher in the image caption.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years