For the feathered and furry: startups making pet care easy for Indian pet owners
From subscription-based pet-care products to smart food dispensers, tech-enabled services are making the lives of pet owners go round. According to management consulting firm CB Insights, between 2012 and 2016, a record $486 million was invested in pet tech across 172 deals around the world, despite an overall slump in VC fundings.
Closer home too, the last few years have seen the rise of several such startups. Estimates state that an astounding four million dogs in the country ensure that the Indian pet care and pet tech market is pegged at over Rs 1,300 crore with a growth rate of 14 percent. Here are a few startups that are tapping into these trends and, in the process, making the lives of pet owners that much more convenient.
At heart a ‘Make In India’ IoT company, Nimble Wireless is bringing deep tech to pet care in India. The company raised $1 million from Prime Venture Partners and other investors in early 2015. Its app-based service RVPetSafety helps monitor your pet’s environmental temperature on the go. According to founder Siva Sivakumar, the app was developed keeping in mind how sensitive pets can be to temperatures above 102°F and below 32°F. Heatstroke and frostbite are some of the most common concerns among pet owners in RVPetSafety’s primary market, the US. With over 1,000 units sold in just seven months since its launch, the device comes with 12 sensors that together measure parameters like humidity, light, proximity, etc.
Founded by friends and fellow pet lovers Rajeev Talwar, Avtar Singh Virk, and Vinod Agarwal, Home4pet is a one-stop e-commerce and services portal for all needs. This includes easily available pet food and grooming products, as well as other products and services including toys, accessories, vets-on-call, pet ambulances and burial services, pet trainers and spas, pet insurance, and much more. Apart from an initial seed fund of $500,000, Home4pet is currently bootstrapped and looking for funding.
It's not news that Indian pet owners suffer a lack of reliable pet care and sitters in the country. Founder Anshul Goenka noticed this and started Woofbnb to bridge the gap. Based out of Pune, Woofbnb is an e-commerce and pet care aggregator. The e-commerce section of this portal sells pet care and grooming products while the aggregator model is for grooming and sitting. A dog-walking service comes with a monthly or yearly subscription for time-strapped pet-owning busy professionals. Woofbnb is looking to expand to Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore soon. Apart from initial seed fund, Woofbnb is currently bootstrapped.
Founded by Bhupendra Khanal in 2015, Dogsee Chew makes human-grade food for pet dogs. Made of Yak milk and other organic ingredients, and manufactured in Sikkim and Darjeeling, Dogsee Chew is also a source of income for the farmers in the region. Once the product is procured from them, the company refines it before packaging and retailing. From nuggets, bars, crunchies, and puffies to dog biscuits, Dogsee Chew’s diverse portfolio is one of its USPs.
With a 12-member team distributed across Delhi, Mumbai, and Chandigarh, the company has a presence in 20 states around India. Khanal plans to take the brand overseas too, with a view of the APAC and European market. The company raised Rs 2 crore from Delhi-based investor Renu Balyan and IIIT professor Jyotsna Bapat in an angel round in 2016.
CollarFolk is an online platform that facilitates holiday planning and booking for pet owners who are keen on travelling with their furry friends. Founded by pet lover Rukmini Vaish in 2016, CollarFolk also has a pet-friendly taxi service in Delhi NCR. The platform’s revenue model is income generated from bookings in the form of TAC from resorts and homestays as well as service fees from customized holidays for travellers and pet owners looking for specific experiences. The portal also sells animal-themed merchandise including board games, bottle openers, car stickers, fridge magnets, etc.
Rukmini initially invested Rs 10 lakh in CollarFolk and the company is now in the process of raising more funds.
Dogspot was founded in 2007 and the company kicked off its e-commerce function in 2011. In six years, the company has scaled up to 60,000 orders every month with an average basket size of Rs 1,700. Apart from being a marketplace for pet products, Dogspot also promotes pet care content and relevant events for pet owners.
The company received an initial seed fund from Vikas Saxena (Global CEO of Nimbuzz), Vaibhav Gadodia, and others. It secured another $500,000 led by India Quotient in 2013. Finally, in 2016, the company once again received an undisclosed round of funding from Ratan Tata, Ronnie Screwvala, K Ganesh, India Quotient, and five other existing and new angels.
Heads Up For Tails
Heads Up For Tails is one of India’s first pet-related startups. Founded by Rashi Narang in 2008, it has grown to become synonymous with pet couture in India. Heads Up For Tails focuses on premier designer bedding, accessories, and apparel for affluent pet lovers and owners.
In an earlier interview with YourStory, Rashi mentioned her dream venture is growing at a record 30 percent year-on-year and clocks in an average of 1,000 monthly customers. Rashi initially bootstrapped her business out of choice for eight years while travelling between India and Singapore, where her husband was posted at the time. After she relocated to India in 2016, Heads Up For Tails raised funding through two seed rounds in early February 2016 and January 2017.
The exponential rise in pet ownership in Indian cities has clearly paved the way for new and unique pet care products and services. Going by the diversity of what is on offer, the space might go on to become extremely profitable in the coming years. Entrepreneurs interested in the sector should keep a close eye on further developments.