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PetTech startups in SEE: Digitizing pet care, one paw at a time

PetTech startups in SEE
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Dogs, cats, hamsters, and little birds are welcome in modern households and their owners need technology to take better care of them. The SEE PetTech niche is growing with smart solutions for pet care with the help of mobile apps and platforms that connect owners with professionals. 

PetTech gadgets, like collars with special monitors, are being developed for training or tracking. Platforms and apps are connecting owners with vets and walkers or are live monitoring pet’s vital signals. The Recursive takes a closer look at the drivers of the niche.

“PetTech is blooming worldwide, not only in Bulgaria and the larger EU market. The pet industry is undergoing explosive growth attributed to the rise of smart tech, e-commerce in the pet market, and the changing demographics of pet owners,” Ivaylo Danailov, co-founder of the Bulgarian startup DoggoCollar shares.

Digitail, a Romanian veterinary cloud-based ERP and CRM software, adds that the drivers of this accelerated growth are millennial pet owners. “We are pet parents; we are millennials, and we can’t live without technology. We are building Digitail for our own pets while striving to make the life of all pet parents easier,” the Romanian startup team shares.

PetTech market – growth drivers

Reports show that there are over 80M European households that own a pet and that the annual sales of pet products and services, including food, is over €40M. Statistics also show that the number of pet dogs is rising year to year – from 73M pet dogs in a household in 2010 to over 89M a decade later.

„North America is seeing the biggest market growth in the industry, but it is closely followed by Europe and the Asia Pacific as the popularity of companion animals is increasing. The COVID-19 pandemic also had a positive impact on the industry by increasing the popularity of pet adoption throughout the above-mentioned regions,” the Digitail team explains.

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Pet humanization is one of the global market drivers. Animals are an integral part of the family, so “urban parents” are looking for ways to keep them healthy, happy, and safe. “Millennials are predisposed to regard their pets as ‘part of their family’ and that change in attitude towards pets presents various opportunities for new innovative pet tech products that ensure the pets’ wellbeing,” Ivaylo Danailov adds. 

With more pets, there is also more pressure on doctors. Veterinarians spend a lot of time on activities that have to deal with data, instead of dedicating their hours to treating pets. “We are creating the tools that pet parents and veterinarians need to take care of pets. We are digitizing pet care, one paw at a time,” the Digitail team shares.

Pet e-commerce is also going strong. The biggest Bulgarian online platform for pets and pet owners, Pet Mall, which specializes in high-quality pet products, recently received an investment from Vitosha Venture Partners. Nikola Ninov, the founder of PetMall, shared with The Recursive that they plan to offer a consulting department to aid customers on how to take better care of their pets. “Our ultimate goal will be to improve the petcare culture,” he said.

PetTech startups in SEE
Source: Pexels

Pet gadgets for smart monitoring

DoggoCollar’s product is a smart dog collar that tracks the location and vital signs of the dog. The Bulgarian startup was in the latest selection of Innovation Capital, a Bulgarian VC for pre-seed startups. 

“We are working on increasing the collar’s durability and ensuring users get the most accurate and comprehensive pet health data. We are also finishing work on our application that will revolutionize the way people interact with their pets and facilitate the social interactions between dog owners,” Danailov says. 

DoggoCollar was inspired by a hike he experienced with a friend in the countryside. His friend adopted a mixed breed dog that was wandering off all the time. “Then it dawned on me that, indeed, most smart dog collars were simple GPS tracking devices, pinned to collars. They didn’t seem made specifically for dogs, some of them were simple repurposed car or commodity tracking devices,” Danailov continues. 

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With this project, he aims to keep dogs alive, healthy, but also to reduce stress on the pet owner. Since pets can’t voice their health issues, he believes it’s crucial to monitor their behavior to detect early signs of illnesses.

Smart platforms and apps for pets

Digitail is a Romanian startup that is already available in 16 other countries and is currently addressing the US market. The company offers a cloud-based ERP and CRM software to automate veterinary clinic’s processes, but also an app that acts as a digital pet ID. In March, Digitail closed a $2.5M seed round, which was led by the byFounders VC and the AI fund of Google Gradient Ventures, with the participation of Partech and some business angel investors. 

“We started with a client base of small clinics, but have grown to the point where we can support larger practices and pet hospital chains while maintaining the same standards in our approach. Our focus going forward is to provide the infrastructure for putting pet care first through further development of our product with features that enable veterinarians to easily navigate the administrative aspects of their work,” the team says.

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive with 10+ years of experience as a freelance writer based in Bucharest, Romania. Her mission is to report internationally on the amazing progress of the local startup ecosystem while bringing into focus topics such as diversity in business cultures and women in tech; mental health, work-life balance, and the future. Of what? Everything! As a former solopreneur and a full-time mom, she strives to learn something new every day to share with the world. #nevernotlearning