Veterinarian Virginia Gill poses with Ivy, a 7-year-old greyhound, at Maine Veterinary Medical Center in Scarborough last June. The animal hospital is owned and operated by Rarebreed Veterinary Partners. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

A Portland startup ranks No. 1 on a prestigious list of fast-growing companies compiled by one of the country’s most widely read business publications, Inc. magazine.

Rarebreed Veterinary Partners topped Inc.’s ranking of private companies in the Northeast that have grown the most from 2019 to 2021, with the company’s revenue soaring 4,691% during that period.

Founded in 2018, Rarebreed invests in veterinary clinics and hospitals, providing technology, staff, operational support and other help. The company works with over 100 animal-health care sites across 11 states, including 20 Maine locations from Arundel to Houlton.

Only one other Maine business was included on this year’s list, released last week: Scott & Jon’s, a frozen-food manufacturer specializing in shrimp dishes. The Auburn-based company ranked No. 102 after seeing two-year revenue growth of 160%.

The Inc. Regionals are an offshoot of the Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 lists, which have ranked high-growth companies annually since 1982. Over the years, the lists have flagged the early success of businesses that later became household names, such as Pandora and

The 2023 Northeast Regional list comprises 169 companies from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Companies from large business hubs dominate the list; five of the top 10 fastest-growing companies are from New York City. Among them is the No. 2 business on the list, software company Dante Genomics, whose revenue grew 3,873%.


The minimum required revenue to make this year’s Inc. Regional lists was $100,000 for 2019, and $1 million for 2021. Companies on the list had to provide verified revenue figures and other financial information, but neither the magazine nor the Maine companies would disclose specifics.

“We are excited and humbled by this achievement,” Rarebreed spokesperson Sarah Mills said in an email to the Press Herald. “So many people have contributed to our success and help live out our values of love, respect, and fun every day. We’re thankful for our practice partners who took a chance on us and our teams who provide exceptional care to our community pets.”

At Scott & Jon’s, brothers Scott and Jon Demers described their company’s ranking with a statement saying, “This recognition is something to be proud of as you do not get on this list without passion, hard work, and dedication from everyone on the team.”

Among the companies on the Inc. Northeast regional list, the median growth rate – the rate at which half the companies reported higher growth and half reported less – was 208%. That level was the highest among the seven regional rankings by Inc., which together included 1,125 companies throughout the U.S.


Rarebreed is part of a growing cluster of animal-health businesses in southern Maine.


The company was launched by two former employees of Westbrook-based Idexx Laboratories, Dan Espinal and Sean Miller, and local investor Matt Campbell. The startup got a boost in 2019 when it raised $40 million in two rounds of private equity financing.

Espinal, who serves as CEO, explained his company’s business by saying, “The bottom line is that we’re focused on taking care of the people who take care of animals.”

In 2020, Rarebreed purchased a majority ownership stake in Maine Veterinary Medical Center, an animal hospital employing 150 veterinary professionals in Scarborough.

Dan Espinal, left, and Sean Miller, co-founders of Rarebreed Veterinary Partners. Photo courtesy of Rarebreed

Last year, Rarebreed acquired a Massachusetts-based veterinary practice group, Vet’s Best Friend, adding 47 sites to the 71 operated by Rarebreed at the time. The combined company is one of the largest practice groups in the U.S., Rarebreed said, and is now backed by a Denver private equity firm, Revelstoke Capital Partners.

Espinal’s and Miller’s former employer, Idexx, is considered one of the leaders in the world’s animal-health industry. Founded by David Evans Shaw in 1983, Idexx provides diagnostic testing and other products for animal-health markets including pets, livestock and poultry.

Shaw and his son, Benjamin Shaw, later formed Vets First Choice, a veterinary technology company that in 2019 merged with a New York business to become Covetrus Inc. Other Portland businesses working in animal health include biotechnology company ImmuCell Corp. and ElleVet Sciences, which launched in 2017 and develops cannabis-based therapeutic products for pets.

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