Smalls, the direct-to-consumer pet food company purpose-built for cats, announced the close of a $9M Series A financing round led by Left Lane Capital. This latest round, which includes participation from previous investors Founder Collective and Companion Fund, brings the company's total amount raised to $12M.
Co-founders Matt Michaelson and Calvin Bohn created Smalls to improve the lives of cats and their owners after realizing that the industry was built around the needs of dogs, and high-quality biology-based products for cats were virtually nonexistent. Smalls is filling an immense gap in the market with their innovative formulas and recipes uniquely tailored to cats' health and well-being.
"Cat parents want to give their cats the absolute best, but the majority of what's available is effectively junk food, disguised as health food," said Michaelson. "About 60% of cats in the US are overweight or obese, an epidemic being fueled by heritage brands and their vested interest in the status quo: poor quality ingredients, and unhealthy formulas. Smalls is bringing the much needed fresh food revolution that's taken the dog industry by storm and tailoring it for cats and cat people. For the first time, felines are being put first."
The Series A funding, which will allow Smalls to continue widening their selection of food, with an emphasis on formula innovation and creating new recipes for particular palettes, while simultaneously expanding their product offering to include health supplements, furniture, and accessories, comes at a very opportune time - as consumer demand hits an all-time high. Online cat food delivery experienced a 162% year-over-year growth from March 2019 to March 2020.
"Since COVID-19 changed our lives and economy, there continue to be many unknowns. But, if anything is certain, cats need to eat. Our DTC model allows us to safely deliver exactly what customers need, directly to their doorstep, and our business is seeing tremendous growth as a result," said Michaelson.
There are approximately 94 million pet cats in the U.S., compared to around 89 million pet dogs, however, about 95% of VC funding in the pet food industry has been invested in dog-centric companies. Smalls is leading the charge on disrupting the industry and investors like Left Lane Partner, Jason Fiedler, one of the first investors in The Farmer's Dog, are paying attention.
"While we've seen a proliferation of highly successful healthy dog food brands, the cat food market has remained completely ignored," says Fiedler. "Smalls has successfully developed a brand, product mix, supply chain, and customer experience that is specifically optimized for cats that no one else has."
In the past year, Smalls has expanded its selection of human-grade, fresh food by introducing new formulas and recipes based on customer feedback, including a sustainably sourced fresh Fish recipe, launching this month.
In addition to leveraging their financing to grow their product offering, Smalls is also heavily focused on growing their team. The company is actively seeking BIPOC to fill all available positions, including a Director of Product Management, Acquisition Manager, and Product Designer, in an effort to create a strong team with diverse opinions and backgrounds.
To learn more about Smalls or to sign up for your first delivery, visit: www.smalls.com.
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.