From smart collars and treat dispensers to e-commerce and social media, startups are jumping into the pet industry across a wide variety of tech categories. 2016 was a record year for financing to the space in terms of both deals and dollars, modestly exceeding 2015 totals, despite the overall slump in VC funding.
Using CB Insights data, we examined investment activity from 2012 to 2016 in the pet tech space.
We define the pet tech category to include companies whose core business is using tech-enabled solutions to serve the pet owner market. This broadly includes e-commerce and subscription startups targeting niche pet retail; hardware startups providing food, training, toy, waste management, and tracking solutions; and mobile app and/or software-based platforms that connect pet owners with pet service providers (e.g. dog-walkers, veterinarians, shelters, grooming services, etc.) The category excludes traditional retail stores, food companies, and any other brick-and-mortar business which does not rely primarily on technology to serve the pet market.
This report contains detailed information on:
Annual deals and dollars
Between 2012 and 2016, $486M was invested in the pet tech space across 172 deals.
On a yearly basis, deals and dollars have been rising progressively. In 2015, $140M was invested across 44 deals, and in 2016 $154M was invested across 46 deals. 2013 marked the first big jump in deal activity, when there was a nearly twofold increase in deals over 2012.
Notable deals in 2016 included a $60M Series C to pet toy and treat subscription box service BarkBox, in which August Capital, Resolute.vc and RRE Ventures were participating investors. The New York City-based company has raised $82M in total funding to date. Other large investment rounds included a $40M Series E round to dog services platform Rover, in which Foundry Group, Madrona Venture Group, and Menlo Ventures all participated. The Seattle-based company has raised $90.9M in total funding to date.
2015 also saw a few high-ticket investments. Direct-to-consumer pet pharmaceutical company Vets First Choice received $52M in Series D funding, with Black Point Group, HLM Venture Partners, and Polaris Partners participating. Rover (above) received a $25M Series D funding in 2015, and smart-collar maker Whistle Labs received $15M in Series B funding.
Quarterly deals and dollars
Since Q3’14, there have been an average 11 deals per quarter to pet tech. Most recently, Q4’16 saw 15 deals, matching Q4’15 for a quarterly high.
The number of dollars invested on a quarterly basis has fluctuated significantly. $53M was invested in Q4’16, up from $20M in Q3’16 and $66M was invested across 9 deals in Q2’16, up from $14M across 10 deals in Q1’16. Q2’16’s funding high was largely buoyed by BarkBox’s $60M Series C round.
Financing trends by stage
Early stage investment (seed/angel and Series A) accounted for roughly 75% of all pet tech deals in 2016. The share of seed/angel investment specifically has increased yearly as a percentage of total deals, from 47% in 2012 to 59% in 2016. Mid-stage deals (Series B and C) accounted for 17% in 2015 but only 2% in 2016.
Most well-financed companies
The five most well-financed pet tech companies have raised a combined $315M in total funding.
The fourth most well-financed startup is DogVacay, a pet services platform that connects pet owners with pet-sitters and pet walkers. The company has raised $47M in total funding, most recently raising $25M in the second tranche of a Series B in 2014. Participating investors include Benchmark, DAG Ventures, First Round Capital, Foundation Capital, GSV Capital, OMERS Ventures, and Science Media.
Boqii is a Shanghai-based e-commerce company that focuses on pet products and is the fifth most well-financed pet tech startup. The company has raised $25M in disclosed funding through a 2014 Series B financing that included Goldman Sachs.
|Company||Total Funding ($M)|
|Vets First Choice||$70|
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