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SN 2 - #8A Transforming Animal Health: A Veteran's Path from VC to Founder

Welcome to another episode of The 7 in 7 Show with Zack Ellison, which features full length interviews with the world’s leading investors in innovation.

Episode 8 of Season 2 features Dan Espinal, the Co-Founder and CEO of Rarebreed Veterinary Partners, a thriving community of veterinary hospitals whose goal is to deliver exceptional patient care, outstanding client service, and an amazing employee experience.

Rarebreed Veterinary Partners was founded in 2018 to reimagine the veterinary experience. With over 120 locations across the Northeast, Florida, and Virginia, Rarebreed is committed to universal training to sustain wellness, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace.

Before co-founding Rarebreed, Dan headed IDEXX Laboratories’ in-house chemistry business and Corporate Development and Strategy team. There, he led and executed global acquisitions, managed the annual strategic planning process and structured complex partnerships to serve as the technology for new companion animal diagnostic pillars.

During his career, Dan also worked as a venture capital investor at Allied Minds plc, focusing on internet and communication technologies. And he was a management strategy consultant at JSA Partners (formerly AT Kearney), a mergers and acquisitions and strategy consultancy in Boston.

Dan is a combat veteran and Airborne Ranger-qualified infantry officer with service time as a combat advisor embedded with the Afghan National Civil Order Police.

He holds a Master of Business Administration from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan School of Business) and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Relations from Tufts University.

An active triathlete, he resides in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, with his wife, three children, and his dog, Boomer.

In this episode, Zack Ellison and Dan Espinal discuss:

  1. Why startup founders make better VCs.
  2. Learning from entrepreneurial mistakes.
  3. Decision-making under pressure.
  4. The influence of sports and military service on leadership.
  5. How venture debt helps startups through increased accountability.
  6. Developing a resilient mindset to succeed as a founder.
  7. AI’s Impact on the Future of Work.


– Zack Ellison: ⁠

– The 7 in 7 Show: ⁠

– A.R.I. Venture Debt: ⁠

A venture debt investment manager focused on providing financing solutions to innovative, high-growth startups in recession-resistent sectors and underserved regions in North America.