From Ideation to Getting Ratan Tata Onboard- The Story of Dogspot.in
Indian pet care market is pegged at over $1.22 billion with an annual growth rate of more than 35%. DogSpot.in, the leader in this industry has been backed by the iconic figure, Mr. Ratan Tata with an undisclosed amount. Let us hear the story of Mr Rana Atheya and DogSpot.in , how they made it that far.
Ideation and launch of DogSpot
When Rana was working with an Internet company in Gurgaon he noticed that there is very less information available on net regarding pets, especially for Indian pet owners. There were no website offering information especially for the Indian pet lovers.
Rana was 27 when he started giving shape of a venture, to his love for pets. Being one amongst the subject, he was the first one identify a big pain point of pet lovers – “There are many animal lovers among us, but you don’t have a single platform where they can actually get details on animal care.” He tried to address the problem by developing a platform for the community where they could get information about pets “I am a dog lover since my childhood. I always wanted to follow my hobby and hence DogSpot.in happened. It was very simple for me, I knew from very childhood that I will do something with pets.”
Growth- A big Leap
Looking at the growth rate and the response of the users, the website was eventually transformed into an e-commerce portal. But with this pivot, the initial ideology of providing quality content to its users has never been compromised. DogSpot.in still provides information through their blogs- WagClub and Wagpedia.
DogSpot.in now has come up as a one stop solution to all the needs of pet lovers starting from educating them on various nitty-gritties of pet care through their blog, to selling branded products like Royal Canin, Ferplast, Whiskas, Drools, and many more to provide premium quality products across categories of accessories, food, toys, grooming & healthcare on a click of a mouse.
Then the “funding” happened
In December 2013, DogSpot.in raised its first funding of INR 1 Cr from early-stage investment firm India Quotient. Although convincing investors and getting them onboard was the most challenging part but India being the fastest pet market helped the firm finalizing the deal. Acknowledging paradigm shift in the shopping behavior of the country, Ronnie Screwvala explained that they invested in the pet online market, as they believe “the pet market in India will explode in the next five years as the country further urbanises.”
When asked about the challenges Rana faced in his journey from ideation to getting Mr. Tata on board he says- “It’s a niche segment but growing very fast. To convince for the investors and other stakeholders to believe in the future was very challenging. ”
Launch of Private Label
To make the business more sustainable, DogSpot.in launched products in its own brand names. Although it has not been an easy task, “Pets are family and it is important to have products with high quality standards. We have to deal with this very seriously. It is challenging to set up a Research and Development center and to find experts for high quality product development.”
Getting Mr Tata on board- The crown on the head
Finally DogSpot.in joined the elite club of 20 startups backed by Mr. Ratan Tata. When asked what was the similarity between DogSpot.in and Mr. Tata’s portfolio companies that made him reach out to Mr Tata, Rana said- “Mr. Ratan N Tata is passionate about Startups and is a dog lover. This is what make me reach out to Mr.Tata.”
According to IIPTF (Indian International Pet Trade Fair)- Euromonitor International has projected India to be the fastest growing pet markets globally thereby an increase of the demand of pet food, health products and pet accessories.
The Ideology Behind
Everyone behind DogSpot.in is first a dog lover and then an entrepreneur. The passion for dogs is hence a common binding and driving force!
Amongst other initiatives, the team supported events in a big way. Earlier, all dog shows and other industry events used to happen in silos. DogSpot.in with its information-sharing platform enabled such events to gain exposure globally. Today, the website helps events to get more participants, footfalls and make premium content available to dog lovers free of cost.
“With our advance know-how of this category we are building the best and biggest catalog for pet lovers in India. We are doing so by exploring gaps and introducing products in our own brand”