A Portland startup that owns and operates veterinary hospitals has received nearly $40 million in venture capital investment as it continues to expand.

The company, Rarebreed Veterinary Partners, said it received the financial backing in two separate rounds of private equity financing.

The company was launched in October 2018 by a former Idexx Laboratories employee who was later joined by two additional partners. The company invests in veterinary operations and helps provide technology, business operations and benefits for employees, including parental leave, pet medical benefits and health care benefits.

“The bottom line is that we’re focused on taking care of the people who take care of animals,” said Dan Espinal, CEO of Rarebreed.

Espinal said veterinarians typically earn less than doctors, have high levels of student debt and can be challenged by the daily responsibilities of running a practice. That’s where the services his company offers come in, he said.

Espinal said the first round of financing attracted local investors, and the second round expanded on that and also attracted New York investors.

In addition to Espinal, Rarebreed is led by Sean Miller, chief operating officer and also a former Idexx employee, and Matt Campbell, a local investor. The company has 15 employees at its Danforth Street headquarters and 200 in 10 practices in which the company has invested around New England.

The company joins a cluster of animal health businesses in Maine, including Idexx, Covetrus and Dechra Pharmaceuticals, a British company that purchased Portland-based Putney four years ago.

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