This Pune pet startup aims to be the one-stop destination for all pet needs
Roommates and college friends Swapnil Shah and Udit Chugh were in a fix when they had to travel, and wanted their little fur ball Phoebe to live in a safe and trusted boarding space. And, it took them a lot of time to find a proper place.
It took them a day to look around, and finally, find a place for her. During this, the duo realised that there is a lack of technological innovation in the space.
After their trip, Swapnil and Udit started looking into the services that pet parents need, and they found out that just like finding a boarding, it was not easy to find a pet groomer, a pet trainer, and a lot of other services related to pet care.
“We later confirmed our findings with many other pet parents at pet events, and by conducting short surveys outside multiple vet clinics in our city. That was our Eureka moment. We knew that we wanted to solve this problem,” Udit Chugh, Co-founder,.
It led them to start Pawfect.xyz in May 2019 in Pune. Pawfect.xyz is a pet care startup that provides everything that pet parents needs. Udit explains XYZ in the name stands for everything.
They built a platform using which pet parents can book grooming sessions for their pet, find a temporary stay, find a trainer, discover pet-friendly restaurants and cafes in their neighbourhood, buy supplies like food, medicines, and toys for their pet, find pet events nearby, adopt a pet, find vets, and much more.
Building the platform
“It wouldn't have been possible to launch everything in one go, so we are rolling out these services in phases,” explains Udit. The startup has already launched four services, including pet grooming, pet stay, pet training, and rescued animal adoption.
“We did not want to promote illegal breeding, so the adoption on our platform is supported by an NGO called RESQ. We list the animals which they have rescued, and are ready to be adopted and re-homed,” says Udit.
He adds that the Pawfect is already generating profits from these services, and it is putting it back in the startup to launch other services. The startup is also in the final stages of launching its ecommerce services, which will allow pet parents to buy food, medicine, toys, and other supplies from the Pawfect app.
Before starting Pawfect, Udit used to work with Veritas as a software engineer, and Swapnil worked with three startups as a full-stack software developer.
“We launched an early version of the pet supplies ordering system to help pet parents in Pune during the current situation, and it got a massive response since we were doing free deliveries, and weren't charging any additional charges,” says Udit.
To stand true to their claims of being the sole platform pet parents use, the founders needed to solve every problem that a pet parent faces, and they listed down all the services that can be overhauled with the help of technology.
The startup partnered with services providers like pet groomers, pet trainers, pet-boarders, and onboarded them onto the platform so that they could fulfil the service requirements which pet parents regularly ask for. However, onboarding partners was challenging due to uneven offerings and variable pricing.
“Every other grooming provider was charging a different price for the same service, so we had to convince them and standardise the price and offerings, so that we can offer the services at a standard rate. The same was the case with pet trainers,” says Udit.
“Using our app is relatively simple. We give the flexibility of time to the user so that they can choose the service, a time slot, share details of their pet, and pay. And, our service partner will fulfil the service at the time of their choice,” he adds.
Pawfect currently provides these services:
Grooming: In this service, users select the type of plan they want for their pet, select a time slot, provide the address, and make the payment, and Pawfect sends the groomer at their doorstep at the mentioned slot.
Stay: For the stay option, users select one of the stays from the list mentioned according to their requirement (homestay or kennel), share details of their pet, make the payment, and they are ready to check in their dog at a particular stay.
Training: With training services, users select the type of training their pet needs, and raise a request. The startup finds a trainer for their pet and arranges a call or a meeting, and then takes it forward from there.
Adoption: Pawfect has partnered with an NGO called RESQ. It lists all the animals that are up for adoption by RESQ on its platform, and the user gets an option to reach out directly to RESQ.
The startup spent close to a year to partner with service providers, as well as to build the platform. The first version of the Pawfect app went live in February 2020.
Market and segment
The Indian pet care industry has skyrocketed with its diverse products available for pets. The industry is expected to cross $2.7 billion by 2019, according to the Indian Pet Food Market Forecast and Opportunities.
Some of the startups in the pet care space are Heads Up for Tails, DogSpot, TailsLife, DoggieTheApp, Boneafite, Fur Ball Story, and many others. Pawfect focusses on facilitating the actual service by partnering with the provider.
Revenue and future
Pawfect takes a small cut from the bookings it provides to its service partner. It takes a 15-30 percent cut from the provider, depending on the type of service. For product sales, the margins vary anywhere between 5-20 percent.
The grooming services range between Rs 500 and Rs 1800. For pet boarding, it has partnered with boarding, whose prices range between Rs 500 per night and Rs 1500 per night. Further, for pet training services, the platform has trainers who charge between Rs 800 per session and Rs 5000 per session, based on their experience.
“We got our first order in the first week of launch, and since, the numbers are only growing. We haven't spent anything on marketing till now, and growth so far has been all organic. In the next two months, we plan to launch the pet supplies ecommerce store and project a 10x revenue growth,” explains Udit.
Pawfect plans to expand to all the Indian metro cities in the next two to three years, and also has plans to take the platform internationally. It also plans to offer some of the services and products as a monthly/bi-monthly subscription.
Edited by Suman Singh