ABC TV network’s hit show “Shark Tank,” where fledgling businesses pitch their ideas hoping to get support from expert investors, has featured U.S. pet food brands, such as personalized pet food delivery service, Pet Plate, and vegan dog food company, Wild Earth. Both Shark Tank and the United Kingdom (U.K.) version “Dragon’s Den” originated from the Japanese series “Money Tigers,” and Dragon’s Den is also no stranger to the pet food industry.
Pure Pet Food
Pure Pet Food got off to a great start, winning a Pet Product Innovation of the Year award in 2013, and when founders Daniel Eha and Mathew Cockroft appeared in front of the Dragons in 2014, they presented an impressive pitch.
Despite two of the Dragons offering to invest, the pair behind the brand decided that the equity they would have to hand over would be too high, so they declined both offers. It certainly didn’t hinder the progress of the dehydrated dog food business, which exhibited rapid growth and won even more awards for its products.
Billy + Margot
Founded by certified canine nutritionist Marie Jones in 2012 (who named the business after her own pet dogs), Billy + Margot launched following a successful appearance with her iced dog treat idea on Dragon’s Den in April 2012 where Billy + Margot’s Dragon was entrepreneur Deborah Meaden.
Following its acquisition in 2018 of Benyfit Natural Pet Food, the premium dog food brand relaunched in the U.K. in early 2019 with a brand new product range sold in Pets At Home stores for the first time.
It was the business’s first relaunch since it was acquired by Australian company the Real Pet Food Company (RPFC) in October 2016, as part of RPFC’s strategy for international growth by entering the U.K. market, and in fact the first major relaunch since Billy + Margot’s inception.
After being in business for less than a year, entrepreneurs Dylan Watkins and Louise Mackintosh took their raw dog food business Poppy’s Picnic (named after Dylan’s dog Poppy) in front of the Dragons.
They had an impressive four Dragons offer investment, and like Billy + Margot they accepted Deborah Meaden’s offer. Shortly afterwards their circumstances changed and they decided not to go ahead with the partnership, but continue to be a success in the UK raw pet food world.
Earlier in 2019, Aniesha and Jack Walker, the husband-and-wife team behind the tailor-made, healthy pet food brand, Scrumbles, actually turned down Deborah Meaden’s offer after the Dragon asked for a higher percentage than they wanted to give.
Scrumbles natural pet food focuses on being gut friendly and consciously made, and despite missing out on an injection of cash following their appearance on the TV show, the brand is stocked by major retailers such as the Co-Op, Ocado, Fetch and Amazon.