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Independent VetCare: Partnering for growth and success

Independent Vetcare was founded in 2011 and is now the largest veterinary care business in Europe. 

Outset has been working with IVC since shortly after its inception, originally helping them to grow the business through acquisition and now delivering a broad range of legal, HR and safety services to the IVC Group. 


IVC started with the aim to grow – and grow quickly. Working with the team at Outset, led by CEO Jonathan Gauton, it developed a strategy for acquisitions, based on an integrated process and structure between the IVC acquisitions team and Outset’s corporate team. The focus for both was on delivering a streamlined, hassle-free and seller-friendly deal experience – consistently looking to refine the process and shorten the time period from agreeing a deal to getting it completed.

As of June 2018, IVC has over 600 practices – and Outset has been with them, well, pretty much from the outset.

In 2017, the team acquired 61 vet businesses, comprising 197 locations across the UK and Northern Ireland. On average, deals were completed within 10 weeks from heads of terms being agreed.

The continued success of the teams in delivering a strong pipeline of acquisitions is thanks to a strong focus on collaboration between Outset and IVC – essentially operating as one team. We are in contact daily, and are always working to improve our process for the benefit of the vets who are selling to the Group. Outset understand what we are looking to achieve, focus on the key areas and don’t lose sight of the big picture. Every acquisition is important to us, and Outset have helped us deliver a fantastic growth record over the past 6 years, and we’re still looking to the future and how we can get better

Stuart Caton, Commercial Director, Independent VetCare Group.

“For any deal, it’s critical to identify issues early. We have a thorough understanding of the sector and of what can cause hold ups – our process is designed to spot these very early on. Once we know what might lead to a delay, that’s where we focus our efforts and work closely with the IVC team to resolve any potential stumbling blocks. The teams are truly integrated – and the results tell the story.”

Sean Gorman, Head of Corporate and Commercial, Outset.

Employment and HR

With Outset’s unique understanding of the complexities of IVC’s employment and HR challenges, the teams again work hand-in-hand.

IVC’s commitment to vet-led practice means Outset needs to be on hand for managers of each practice, as well as being involved in overall employee relations across the Group. The team at Outset has developed a service which delivers structured advice, at the right level, across the Group.

Whether delivering HR advice to managers, or legal advice on some of the more difficult issues that come up, Outset has the experience, knowledge and understanding of IVC’s business and the veterinary sector to deliver smart, pragmatic and valuable solutions when needed. 

Where there is a need for more strategic input, the teams work together to define and deliver the desired outcome. 


With every acquisition comes the challenge of compliance in key areas of health, safety and environmental. The Outset team has developed an end-to-end service for IVC which ensures that these requirements are covered – delivering an integrated approach to risk management on acquisitions. The UKHSE safety team assesses compliance needs during the due diligence process and arranges audits, surveys and other services as required – ensuring IVC peace of mind on a key aspect of post-acquisition management. 

“We see Outset as members of our team as we are all on the same side. We have a great working relationship where roles and rules don’t get in the way of getting the job done. They have always been fun and very easy to get on with.”

David Hillier, Group Chief Executive, Independent VetCare Group