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Ratan Tata backs animal lovers’ portal DogSpot

Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata

Gurgaon-based Petsglam Services Pvt Ltd, which operates online pet store DogSpot.in, has raised an undisclosed amount from Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group.

This marks another addition to the startup investment portfolio for Tata, who hung his boots as the chief of Tata Group three years ago. He was the most active angel investor in India last year.

“The investment by Mr Tata is an endorsement of the long held belief by us and our investors that the Indian pet care sector is going through a phase of growth and transformation,” said Rana Atheya, co-founder and CEO, DogSpot.in.

Ronnie Screwvala, founder, Unilazer Ventures, who had led the previous round of funding along with early-stage investors India Quotient and K Ganesh, has also invested in this round.

Other investors in the latest round include Ashok Mittal, co-founder of Sigma Corporation; Rishi Parti, founder and managing director of transportation solutions provider Info-X Software Technology; early-stage investor Dheeraj Jain and Abhijeet Pai, president at Puzzolana Machinery Fabricators LLP and founder of Infrabazaar.

Jain has previously invested in companies including Shipsy, Burger Singh, Deyor Rooms, Mappr and Coho Stayz.

Screwvala said he expects the pet market in India to grow at a fast clip in the next five years as the country urbanises.

The company will use the funds to create more private labels, especially in pet food, treats and biscuits. It currently sells private labels under the brands PetSpot, DogSpot and Chirp, under which it sells products for birds and Fermination for cat products.

“There is a big gap in the needs of pet owners and the products available. Either the products are too expensive or too cheap with quality issues,” said Atheya.

According to Atheya, DogSpot.in operates in the estimated $1.22 billion pet care market in the country.

The online pet store had previousl claimed to be clocking around 4,000 orders in a month with an average basket size of Rs 1,300. This pegged its monthly gross merchandise value (GMV) to be around Rs 52 lakh as of December 2013.

However, the company changed its business model from being a marketplace to an inventory-led online store in mid-2015.

It now plans to gradually do away with third-party branded products on its site to differentiate from horizontal e-commerce players such as Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal, which also sell the same branded items for pets, to create a differentiated offering, according to Atheya.

The firm was building its private labels business for a while in line with this strategy.

In 2013, it had also launched a separate site called FishSpot.in to sell fish-related items. However, the site was later merged into DogSpot.in. It has also shelved its plan to launch another site CatSpot.in, to sell cat-related items. DogSpot now serves as a single outpost for all its pet-related products.

The company says it has 2,000 stock keeping units (SKUs).

Launched by the husband-wife duo Rana and Vizal Atheya in September 2007, DogSpot started out as a blog for all information and content needs for pet owners.

Dexter Capital was the advisor for the latest funding round.

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