Embrace in the news

We've had a lot of excellent press coverage at Embrace lately. Some of the good coverage because of our recent change in ownership, and some of it just because.

Our recent change in ownership is our most exciting update since we changed our underwriter to American Modern Insurance a year ago.

Before I get into details of the transaction, the bottom line is that:

  • Embrace is staying and growing in northeast Ohio,
  • we are remaining independent from other insurance organizations, and
  • we will continue to provide the great Embrace experience you've come to know from us. Nothing is going to change that way.

As for details, there's a great Plain Dealer article on the transaction "Embrace Pet Insurance Finds Success Keeping Tails Wagging". A private investor with deep experience in the insurance world, Beauvest (US), acquired all the shares of Embrace except for those belonging to me (Laura Bennett) and Alex Krooglik (we're the co-founders). Once that was complete, five of the original investors bought back in, indicating their continued confidence in Embrace and Alex and me (which was very much appreciated by all of us.)

So, for Alex and me, we are still as invested in Embrace as we were before (no Tesla for me this time around!) and we will continue to run Embrace as we have all these years. We also have a very long-term investor who has no particular time horizon for this investment. It's as perfect as it could have been.

The other part of the transaction is that we locked in our underwriting partnership with American Modern for another 5 years, which I am absolutely delighted about. Not only does that give me great comfort that I won't be looking for another underwriter any time soon, but also, the American Modern folks are a great group of guys and gals backed by the solid support of their owner, Munich Re, the largest reinsurance company in the world.

It's tough to say goodbye to Jumpstart, who got us off the ground, and NCT Ventures, who invested a significant sum back in October 2008 during one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression. Both organizations have supported us for many years and we would not be here without them. 

Having said that, I will continue to be very active with Jumpstart, encouraging and supporting other entrepreneurs in northeast Ohio. Personally, I'm delighted that the proceeds from Jumpstart's investment in Embrace will go towards other new companies in the area. Got to love that flywheel!

As for that other press we've been getting:

  • COSE magazine profiled Embrace along with two other local entrepreneurial companies, highlighting the exciting entrepreneurial environment here in NEO (and I got to be on the cover - woohoo!)
  • Scene Magazine did an extensive article on entrepreneurship in Cleveland in the article "Startup City" mentioning Embrace as well
  • Embrace was recently listed as one of 20 Cool Tech Companies in Cleveland
  • I recently participated in a Jumpstart podcast "For Entrepreneurs, By Entrepreneurs" discussing the importance of culture and opportunities created for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, many of which are focused on peer networking and education.

Definitely exciting times! Onwards and upwards.

Your Chief Embracer,

Laura Bennett



Fun Way to Introduce Children to Adopting Cats and Dogs

It's never to early to get kids used to the idea of adopting dogs and cats but how? You can definitely take them to a shelter to see how it works, talk to the shelter staff to learn about your region's rescue operations, and generally absorbing all things Rescue.

Another way, which I had no idea existed until this month, is to have a birthday party for your kids at the shelter. It costs a minimal amount ($50 in our area) and is a great way for the shelter to introduce what they do to young children. While all my cats are rescues, I had no idea that you could do this - just when I thought I knew everything ;)

Geauga Humane Society's Rescue Village Yesterday, my just-turned-seven daughter Ellie and her friend Wren had a joint birthday party at the Geauga Humane Society's Rescue Village. I take no credit for the idea , which goes to Paola, Wren's mom, who had done this before for her older son. In addition, I was very impressed with Ellie and Wren who chose a Rescue Village party over a Dazzle party (whatever that is) and agreed to forgo gifts from their guests in favor of donations to the shelter in the form of items off their wish list.

The party started off with a tour of the facilities by Mary, our host. Much amusement was found in the barn where there were, among other things, 2 roosters, 2 chickens, and a very curious billy goat (who was rather creepy to be honest - he was looking for a lurv partner it you get my drift). The dogs and cats came in all shapes, sizes, and level of energy. I had to hold back in the cat room, where there was a very friendly long-haired tuxedo cat who so desperately wanted me to take him home. He told me so.

Then the girls got to pet a very cute puffball of a young dog who wiggled and licked his way around the crowd and then peed on the floor in excitement - usual doggy stuff - as well pet a 4 month old kitten who purred and shook his way around the room. Lots of oohs and aahs.

Mary also showed the girls how the martingale collar that the dog was wearing worked and how it stayed loose when it needed to be and humanely tight when it needed to be. Then there was the "hand", which caused much hilarity since it's a rubber arm on a stick that is used to check a dog's temperament around food. Better to have a fake arm bitten than your own. The girls got a kick out of touching it's rubbery exterior and being creeped out - you know how 7 year old girls are.

Then it was chocolate chip cupcakes that Paola brought from home (silence ensued except for nom nom sounds) and cat toy crafts for the shelter cats and goody bags to take home.

I think it's a wonderful way to introduce the kids to the concept of rescuing pets (they all had a ball), but also a great way show their parents where the facility is in case they'd never been. No harm in planting the seed of adding another cat or dog to the household is there?

Special thanks to Mary, our gracious host, who patiently put up with interruptions from enthusiastic girls wanting to tell stories about their cats. You are a star!

Have your kids ever been to a shelter for a party or as part of a cub scouts or brownies? What did they think of the whole experience?

 

 

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Open House on Thursday Dec 2 celebrating BZTAT art at the Embrace offices

Maine-Coon-cat-gray-white-cat-abstract-art-painting-pet-portrait-BZTAT-LR-236x300 Need a gift for the hard-to-buy-for pet lover?

Come join us on Thursday Dec 2 2010 from 4pm - 8pm at the Embrace Pet Insurance offices to celebrate the new partnership between BZTAT and Embrace.

There will be light refreshments on hand and lots of paintings to see. Vicki Boatright, aka BZTAT, will be on hand to talk about her work and show you through the gallery.

You might even pick up a thing or two about pet insurance :)

For the official invitations, either check out Facebook or Evite.

Leashed pets welcome!

Related Posts:
Press Release: New art gallery featuring contemporary animal art makes its debut at Embrace Pet Insurance
The perfect holiday gift for a cat or dog lover
BZTAT turns the Embrace Pet Insurance offices into an art gallery



Press Release: New art gallery featuring contemporary animal art makes its debut at Embrace Pet Insurance

BZTAT-Studios-Logo-LR-032409 New art gallery featuring contemporary animal art makes its debut at Embrace Pet Insurance in Beachwood, OH.

A pet insurance company and an art gallery may seem like an odd combination to some, but in the era of new media and art marketing, it is a perfect fit.

Canton, OH artist BZTAT (AKA Vicki Boatright) is teaming up with Embrace Pet Insurance in Beachwood to create the BZTAT Studios Embrace Gallery. The new gallery located at Embrace’s home offices at 23625 Commerce Park, Suite 150 in Beachwood will hold a Holiday Open House Reception on Thursday, December 2, 2010 from 4pm – 8pm to celebrate the holiday season. A Grand Opening celebration for the gallery will be planned later on in the New Year.

Embrace CEO Laura Bennett first connected with artist BZTAT online through social media. They met in person at the BlogPaws pet blogging conference in Columbus, OH in April and again at the second BlogPaws conference in Denver, CO in September. Recognizing that they shared an interest in pets and that their business purposes overlapped, they forged a partnership that served both entrepreneurs well.

“Having an art gallery in our offices is an exciting venture for Embrace,” said Bennett. “Not only do we have the opportunity to have high quality artwork on our walls, the gallery helps us achieve one of our core values, which is to serve both the pet community at large and our own communities at home. Being a supporter of the arts brings value to our organization, enhances the local community, and adds to the overall experience for our customers.”

Vicki Boatright, known as BZTAT (pronounced bee-zee-tat), is an accomplished artist based in the burgeoning Canton Arts District some 60 miles south of Beachwood. An avid pet lover and blogger, she is well known to the international pet blogging community through her two blogs and through social media.

Boatright specializes in whimsical paintings, drawings and prints of cats, dogs and other companion animals. She creates colorful, customized pet portraits, which are unique in their original contemporary style and are collected by people around the world. She also creates murals, recently completing a large scale public artwork featuring 4 cats on the side of a building in Canton. She uses the name BZTAT in homage to a feline companion of that name who was with her for 19 years.

Boatright eschews the usual methods of marketing artwork through traditional gallery representation and juried competitions.  Through the use of social media and targeted networking, she has developed an international following for her work in a relatively short amount of time.

“I prefer to represent myself through networking with individuals and corporations with a pet focus,” said Boatright. “Most of my artwork is pet oriented, so it makes more sense for me to market my work to people who value their pets and enjoy creativity along pet themes. Representation through traditional galleries can’t give me that kind of focus.”

“Embrace is an organization that values pets, and its customers are pet lovers as well,” Boatright explained further. “They had a fantastic space in their offices that begged to be an art gallery. Partnering with them made so much sense on many fronts.”

Boatright plans to develop the Embrace Gallery into an interactive space, eventually offering classes and workshops that encourage pet-oriented creativity.

You can learn more about the artist and view her artwork at www.bztat.com.

All are welcomed to attend the Holiday Open House Reception on Thursday, December 2, including pets. Light refreshments and pet treats will be served. 

Embrace Pet Insurance and the BZTAT Studios Gallery at Embrace are located in the rear of the building at 23625 Commerce Park, Suite 150, Beachwood, OH 44122.

For more information, contact: Vicki Boatright bztat@bztat.com or (330) 371-3150  

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Happy dog adoption story

Nugget_has_a_home Last year, Lea found a dog at Case Western University that needed a home and I blogged about it in the hopes we would find someone to adopt her (North-east Ohio area dog and some kittens needing homes). Nugget was a small but loving pit bull mix that had been on the streets for a while and needed a caring home to go to.

Lea did find a home for Nugget and has posted an update over at the Embrace Pet Community blog on how she's doing. Nugget lucked out and has a wonderful grandma who loves her enough to send a letter to Lea from Nugget saying how she's doing.

I do love a happy adoption story to kick off my day. Warm and fuzzy all over.

Check out the update in Lea's post Happy Story from our foster friend, Nugget.



Lily and Barnes visit our new office

Welcome_to_our_office_4 We're well ensconced in our new digs and now that we have our own space (as opposed to sharing with another early stage company), we can bring in our pets and allow them to wander the halls.

Barnes_at_embrace_2 Lily and Barnes came for the day yesterday and they had mixed reactions. Barnes was a little more curious but Lily at one point completely disappeared and ALL of us ended up looking for her.

Barnes_and_lily_hang_out_together_2 We finally found her under my desk, not on the cat shelf there (who knew that desks came with such things!) but under the drawers under the desk, tucked right into the back in the shadows. She's a wily one!

Have you ever taken your dogs or cats to work and how did that work out for you?



We're moving!

Now that Christmas is over, what better thing to do to refresh ourselves in the New Year than to move offices.

Yes well!

I like moving the furniture about to feel renewed the same as the next person but if we didn't have to move, we wouldn't be. It's quite the distraction. But our favorite landlord thought it would be a good idea if she put a data center in in the middle of our office, which meant we had to move 2 buildings down the road. Oh well, it's a great excuse to spring-clean early.

View Larger Map

So, our new address is as follows:

781 Beta Drive, Suite B, Mayfield Village, OH 44143.

The phone numbers stay the same except the local fax number, which is now (440) 399-3027.



Consider at donation to projects at DonorsChoose.org this holiday season

Donorschooseorg We recently received a gift certificate from Google as a result of our paid search spending over 2007.

Just when I was getting really excited about spending it on a coffee machine for our new offices (more on that in another post), Alex pointed me in the direction of DonorsChoose.org and told me to spend spend spend.

[Now before you think Alex got all altruistic on me, I should tell you that DonorsChoose.org was what the object of the gift cert from Google - I'm very impressed]

So, I just went over to the site to learn more about what we were donating to and was delighted to find a wonderful concept close to my heart I just had to tell you about.

In short, DonorsChoose.org allows the donor to choose amongst a variety of school projects across the US that need funding. The teacher puts together a pitch for the project, what the money is going to be used for, and the amount needed, and you get to make a charitable donation towards it.

The story behind the site is totally borne from one teacher's frustration in the public school system:

DonorsChoose.org was pioneered by teachers at a Bronx public high school in the spring of 2000. Charles Best, then a social studies teacher, saw first-hand the scarcity of materials in our public school classrooms and the profound impact of this scarcity on kids' education. Looking for a way to address this problem, he sensed an untapped potential in people who were frustrated by their lack of influence over the use of their charitable donations. DonorsChoose.org, a website connecting classrooms in need with individuals who want to help, was born.

Glendale_primary_school Embrace donated to the "Chillin' with a Chapter Book" project at Glendale Primary School in Bedford, Ohio to buy books for students to help reading skills. Here's their teacher's pitch:

I am a third grade teacher and would love to bring the love of reading into my classroom. I would like to give my current and future students the opportunity of reading four different chapter books together in class.

In third grade all students must take the OAT reading achievement test. I would like to incorporate these chapter books into helping them study for the test. We will have out loud reading, quiet time reading, read in pairs, and book discussions. I will make up practice tests with subjects that they will see on the OAT test; such as predicting, summarizing, cause & effect, characters, setting, plot, and author's purpose,etc.

I am asking for a donation of 27 copies of four different books. I would like the same book for each student so we can discuss the same book as a class. I am hoping this will improve scores on the OAT and that it will familiarize the students with some interesting books that they may want to read the remaining books in the series on their own.

A classroom can never have enough books. Thank you for all your support.

My project needs 27 copies each of Annoying Team, Third Grade Detectives #1&2, Jake Drake Know-It-All, and Zombies Don't Play Soccer. The cost of this proposal is $566, which includes shipping for any materials requested and fulfillment.

I totally agree, a classroom can never have enough books. I'm glad we could do our part.

If you like, you could do your part too for this project or any other you take a fancy to.

'Tis the season after all.

Happy holidays!



Progressive Pet Insurance - now your dog and cat are insured in a collision

Progressive

Welcome Progressive Insurance policyholders to Embrace!

Finally, a car insurer that gets the role of pets in our lives. Progressive has added a $500 Pet Injury Protection endorsement to all its auto insurance policies where the company will pay $500 towards vet bills from a car accident.

But why was this needed anyway? Wouldn't a pet be covered anyway if it is in an insured car?

Surprisingly, not necessarily. If someone hits your car and injures your dog or cat, the vet bills are covered under their policy under their property damage coverage (pets being property under the law) but if you have an accident and there's no other car involved or the other driver doesn't have insurance, your pet's injuries just aren't covered - up until now that is.

Lucy_and_mom Of course, we all know that $500 won't take you very far if a pet is seriously injured so Embrace Pet Insurance has partnered with Progressive, along with another pet insurer, to provide full pet insurance policies to those people who want something more than just coverage while their pet is in the car. Progressive policyholders get a 5% discount too.

Embrace Pet Insurance policies add coverage for:

  • accidents like being hit by a car, or injesting poison, or having an allergic reaction to a bee sting, or tearing a cruciate ligament
  • cancer of all kinds like osteosarcoma or lymphoma
  • hereditary conditions such as hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and skin allergies
  • contagious diseases like Lyme Disease and coronavirus sickenesses
  • diagnostic treatments like bloodwork, MRIs and CT scans
  • alternative and complementary therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic treatments and homeopathic care
  • hospitalization and return vet visits for all these conditions
  • prescription drugs and dental illness care (optional)

The list goes on...

We're delighted to partner with such a far-sighted auto insurer - let's hope the dogs and cats of the US don't think they can drive the cars now!



Embrace Pet Community

Embrace_pet_community_cat_and_dog_1 Do we ever have a Christmas present for you!

Some of you may have clued in to this but we have released a new website. No, it's not the Embrace Pet Insurance website (coming early 2007) but it's the Embrace Pet Community website www.embracepetcommunity.com.

The Embrace Pet Community is a pet-related online association that focuses on shopping for your four-legged fur kids - what more could you want?!

You can find deals from our unique partners, shopping forums to find deals with help from other pet parents (looking for freebies or some hard to find bargains? This is the place for you), a pet shopping blog, and there is a super-duper feature that's not quite ready yet but you can read about it on the website here.

We think you just might find this useful so please spread the word... The more, the merrier.