PetPlate, a direct-to-consumer subscription service that delivers pet meals, has closed a US$4 million seed round led by Dane Creek Capital. Other notable investors include Amity Supply, SWAT Equity, The Yard Ventures, Castor Ventures and BrandProject, PetPlate's first institutional investor. The company will use the funds to scale operations to meet demand.
PetPlate sells human-grade meals for dogs in pre-portioned containers that can be served straight from the fridge or warmed up in a microwave. The meals are kettle-cooked in a USDA facility, using fresh meat, produce and a proprietary blend of vitamins and minerals, and are formulated for a dog's diet by the company's veterinary clinical nutritionist, Dr. Renee Streeter.
According to PetPlate, a diet comprised of real food, including a variety of fresh vegetables, can extend a dog's life by up to 32 months and decrease the risk of cancer in dogs by up to 65 percent. Immediate benefits of a fresh-food diet may include an increase in energy and appetite, improved digestion, shinier coat, allergy relief and healthy weight management.
"We are delighted to support PetPlate in its mission to become the market leader in the DTC fresh pet food category," said Mark Warren, chairman & CEO of Dane Creek Capital Corp. "Demand for a healthy alternative to kibble will grow exponentially in the next few years. Given the superior quality of PetPlate and the emotional connection that consumers have with the brand, we are confident in the team's ability to lead this next generation of pet food."
PetPlate was founded by Renaldo Webb in 2016 to address the need for better quality dog food. As a former operations consultant, Renaldo saw firsthand the inferior ingredients and substandard cooking processes used to make kibble and other mass-market pet food. Inspired by his dog Winston, he launched PetPlate to ensure that his dog, along with millions of other dogs, could easily access fresh-cooked meals that are balanced for a dog's diet.
"I'm thrilled to be joining forces with the Dane Creek Capital team," said Webb in a press release. "Their unparalleled expertise and experience in the pet space makes them a unique partner to help take PetPlate to the next level. As founders of Pethealth, Inc., one of the largest aggregators of pet data in N.A., they understand how to build new markets and affect consumer behavior."
Two demographic groups, moms and millennials, may make up the majority of subscribers to pet food delivery services, such as Bark Chef and Just Right by Purina. Pet food professionals believe convenience, customizability and health concerns may be primary motives for parents and young adults to use dog and cat food delivery subscriptions.
Market researchers believe that younger people show less brand loyalty than baby boomers or even Generation X. However, the results of a GfK survey, presented by Lange, pointed out a way to attract younger generations’ loyalty.
Young people responded that they would be more devoted to a brand or retailer that allowed them to give input or help shape a product. Fifty-eight percent of consumers born from the mid-1990s to mid-2000s, called Generation Z, said they would be more loyal to a customizable product, compared to 32 percent of baby boomers.
Pet owners want a lot from their pet food brands. They want primary proteins that suit what they believe is best for their animal. They want grains or they don't. They want something customized, but it has to be easy to understand.
Constraints and crises, like those experienced in 2020, help drive innovation and sustainability offers context.