By Natalie Sportelli. Source: Forbes.
Dog and cat owners alike go to great lengths to pamper their pets, to the tune of $20B in the U.S. and $70B globally. For dog lovers, creative options for spoiling your pup are endless. From subscription treat boxes and fitness trackers to in-home video conferencing systems and dog sitting services, scrappy young startups are eagerly cashing in on the canine crazed.
The Farmer’s Dog, the maker of freshly-made and personalized meals for your dog delivered direct to your door, is one such company working to improve the well-being of your pet. Today, it announced that it’s closed a $8.1M Series A round led by Shasta Ventures with participation from previous investors such as Forerunner Ventures, Collaborative Fund and SV Angel. An initial $2M seed round last May brings the eight month old company’s total funding to $10.1M.
“Its mission is the make dogs happier and healthier. Every company we get involved with is on some kind of mission,” says Nikhil Basu Trivedi, Principal at Shasta Ventures, on why his firm took the lead. Shasta has invested in other direct-to-consumer disruptors like Dollar Shave Club, Stance and ALOHA.
The Farmer’s Dog’s cofounders Jonathan Regev and Brett Podolsky, both 30 Under 30 honorees, started the company with the objective to bridge the gap between in store offerings and home cooked meals after Podolsky’s own dog (Jada the Rottweiler) kept getting sick from store brands. “We simply made a product that we wished existed for our own dogs,” said Regev. Just as millennial consumers have become more judicious in choosing what they eat, the cofounders anticipate a similar trend will emerge for pet owners seeking more nutritious and tailored options. “People are becoming better educated about what goes into pet food and simultaneously becoming more knowledgeable about the power food has on health,” he says.
Since its launch, the Brooklyn-based company has delivered more than 1 million meals to hungry pets across the country using a proprietary algorithm to personalize at scale. The Farmer’s Dog’s technology is designed to ensure that its meals are tailored to your dog’s age, size, breed, and more. The meals, made with real meats and vegetables, come within days of initial preparation and are pre-portioned for serving. The young company is now averaging 40-50% revenue growth month-over-month.
With the new funding, the cofounders plan to build out their customer experience and technology teams and scale up production by adding new machines at their packing facility.
While other premium brands like Blue Buffalo and Honest Kitchen are out to accomplish a similar goal in offering more nutritious options, the Farmer’s Dog sets itself apart in its preparation, customization and delivery system. “There are a lot of horror stories out there about dogs getting sick from store brands,” says Podolsky. “Some brands weren’t exactly honest about what they were putting into their food. We couldn’t find a brand that led with integrity and set out to build that company.”