Jennifer Corley: ‘A case of right place, right time’

Equitrace co-founder Jennifer Corley on how tech and timing are vital for the Going for Growth alumni.

Going for Growth, a programme jointly run by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, assists ambitious women entrepreneurs to achieve their growth ambitions.

So far more than 850 Irish women entrepreneurs have participated in the award-winning programme, including Áine Kerr of Kinzen. The 14th cycle of Going for Growth reported significant results for its 57 participants. Combined turnover increased from €35m at the start of the cycle to €43m by the end, a 23% increase in just six months.

“Apps offer a unique advantage to horse people as no one has a laptop in the barn, but everyone has a smartphone in their pocket”

Going for Growth is now inviting ambitious women entrepreneurs to take part in its 15th cycle with the deadline for applications set for Friday 18 November.

A digital solution that is hot to trot

Jennifer Corley graduated in Veterinary Medicine from Glasgow University and went on to specialise in Equine Surgery, including time spent in the prestigious University of Pennsylvania as a Thouron Scholar.

Jennifer spent several years in private practice both in the UK and in Ireland – it was a personal life-changing event that led her to becoming an entrepreneur when she started her own business with her husband, Kevin, who specialises in equine medicine and critical care.

In 2017, Jennifer and Kevin established their company, Veterinary Advances, a medication-related database for equine vets which is used as a standard tool by professional veterinary bodies in the UK and Australia. This company remains the leading producer of smartphone Apps for the veterinary market and is used by, amongst many others, all members of the British Equine and Veterinary Association (BEVA) members today. “Apps offer a unique advantage to horse people as no one has a laptop in the barn, but everyone has a smartphone in their pocket,” says Jennifer.

Jennifer has participated in both Going for Growth and Continuing the Momentum and says that “Going for Growth was really instrumental to the development of my business. Fidelma McGuirk was my Lead Entrepreneur, and her inspiration and encouragement really opened my eyes to the potential of starting a Software as a Service (SAAS) company.” And so EquiTrace was born in 2019.

EquiTrace is an animal health company designed to bring horse healthcare into the digital age. Equitrace works with any scanner, any chip and any phone and is the answer to fundamental problems around traceability, identify, welfare and medication for the equine industry.

Jennifer credits her participation in Continuing the Momentum, where she met Aine Denn, with her successful fund raise of €1m from the angel investment network HBAN and €0.25 m from Enterprise Ireland in 2021. She found Going for Growth sponsor, KPMG, especially helpful also.

A key development in the growth of Equitrace is its commercial partnership with Merck Animal Health in the USA. Biosecurity is key and this strong partnership between Merck and Equitrace where Merck’s Bio-Thermo microchip combines with EquiTrace’s GPS technology to provide data at the horse’s side that is critical to those involved in the equine industry. Clients include Goffs, Fasig-Tipton in the US, the US Jockey Club and the US Trotting Association.

Looking to the future, EquiTrace is currently segmenting its product for different target customer groups. For example, E-professional for studs and trainers; E-vet for vets and E-events for sales and auction houses.

The US will continue to be a key growth market for the company and it’s a case of “being at the right place at the right time” says Jennifer as there is a change in US Federal Law happening soon where any medication given to a racehorse must be reported to a central body within 24 hours. “Only a digital solution will ensure this and Equitrace is so well placed for this as it’s designed to be fast, accurate and easy to use.”

As for Jennifer, she is also well placed to continue her success as an entrepreneur having won “Best VetTech as well as Best Overall Start Up at Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Arena Awards in 2021. She was also a Finalist at KPMG’s 2022 Global Tech Innovator Awards.

The call is open for applications from female entrepreneurs who would welcome peer support to take their businesses to the next level by taking part in the Going for Growth programme. This is the 15th year of Going for Growth and more than 850 female entrepreneurs have so far taken part in the programme. Sixty places will be available for the 15th cycle of Going for Growth, which will run from January to June 2021 and the deadline for applications is Friday 18 November 2022. There is no charge for those selected.

Anyone interested is encouraged to register on the website