Owning a dog is a big commitment. Ideally, dogs shouldn't be alone for a full working day. So it is only those that are at home most of the day, or can take their dog with them wherever they go, that are most suited to owning one. *
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, those of us working from home has increased, and so, therefore, has the number of dogs purchased. This increase in demand for puppies has not only increased the price of them exponentially (pedigree dogs previously selling for ~£900 are now ~£2000), but it has also increased the demand for pet supplies and services.
In 2020/2021 it is estimated that the population of pet dogs in the UK was 12.5 million *© Statista 2021. That is a 3.5 million increase on the previous years population.
The dog supply market is, therefore, a big (and profitable) one. It includes supplies of clothing, toys, beds, grooming equipment, and services, delivering tailor-made food, insurance, vets, and socialisation and training classes.
One of the biggest growth areas in PetTech is dog food supply services. There are an increasing number of dog food supply companies starting up, offering a wide range of foods, catering for all owners requirements. These include dry food, wet food, raw food and even tailor-made freshly cooked food, delivered to order - a doggy takeaway!
The 8 founders spent a year researching and trialling their products before launching their dog food subscription service in 2014.
With their great idea and the strong team from the beginning, the business secured £5 million in seed funding. Then in April 2018, Nestlé Purina PetCare acquired a majority stake in tails.com.
During the pandemic, they saw demand for purchasing dog food online soar. When other businesses were floundering, tails.com flourished, and they are now supplying people in Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Austria and Ireland.
Sustainability: 85% of their packaging is currently recyclable when measured by weight. The main exception is the dog's kibble bag. But Tails.com are working on alternatives, and hopefully, this year, they will be sending out their kibble in recyclable bags.
Since lockdown, online meetings have become the norm within businesses and for healthcare appointments. This online meeting trend has extended to vet appointments, which FirstVet has felt the benefit of over the past year and a half.
Swedish startup FirstVet, offer an independent vet service via video. Providing Independent diagnosis, advice, or referral to a local clinic if the virtual appointment cannot sort out the animal's issue.
Starting in 2016, they have since launched across Scandinavia, the UK, Germany and the USA. FirstVet started its UK online veterinary service in April 2019 and has helped more than 500,000 pets worldwide. They are supported by various insurance companies in the UK and around Europe, and demand for the online vet service is ever increasing.
Appointments are priced at a competitive rate to local vets fees and can be made within the day. These online appointments provide the convenience of not having to load your animal into the car and travel to the vet surgery.
If you have a pet insurance policy with one of the 12 companies FirstVet have partnered with, appointments are free!
Continuing along with the healthcare topic, new startup company PetMedix are translating cutting-edge human health technology into companion animals to provide precision treatments for pets.
In early 2019, they raised £8 million in Series A funding which they used to grow the team, continue to build the platforms, and begin drug discovery. The investment was led by Digitalis Ventures (NYC) with Parkwalk Advisors (London) as their syndicate partner.
In May last year, PetMedix raised an equity investment from Cambridge Innovation Capital (Cambridge, UK) that will be used to advance its ground-breaking antibody technology platform seeking to bring innovative medicines to companion pets.
The ability to raise financing during challenging times of a global pandemic demonstrates investor belief in the company and further evidence of the excellent progress the company has made in creating innovative antibodies against a range of important conditions. PetMedix has engineered a unique platform to develop fully species-specific, naturally-generated therapeutic antibodies to develop its own veterinary medicines to target some of the most important clinical areas.
They have created a number of successful, novel therapies for humans – that is able to create fully canine antibodies. PetMedix is the only company in the world that has brought this innovative approach to veterinary medicine.
"Our goal at PetMedix is to bring the very best therapeutics to companion animal medicine. That we have reached this significant milestone is testament to the incredible team of nearly 40 scientists we have at PetMedix. For a company that is only 2 years old to have both completed a platform at this scale, and to have already used it to discover antibodies with best-in-class potential is down to the quality of both the science we are carrying out, and the people we have working on it." – Dr Tom Weaver, PetMedix CEO.