The co-founder of the sleep tech startup Simba has just launched a new subscription-based well-being brand for pets, ITCH, to disrupt the pet care market. It’s first product? A flea treatment subscription service.
Developed in collaboration with veterinary experts in response to increasing demand for better personalized pet care, ITCH’s tailored monthly flea subscription service makes preventing infestation and treating pets much quicker, cheaper, and more convenient for busy owners than buying over the counter.
Based in Leeds, the new startup has raised an initial €5.6 million from Seedcamp, Nigel Wray, and YYX Capital among others, with a further injection of €11 million expected for Q4 2019 to support the brand roll out to the US in Q1 2020.
ITCH plans to launch additional products into pet care market, such as personalized calming, skin, joint and dental products. There are also plans to use curated and user generated content to create an online platform and community, in collaboration with its team of veterinary experts, designed to answer the plethora of well-being questions pet owners face on a daily basis.
With research by Mintel showing that the UK pet care market is set to reach €2.3 billion by 2023 and the UK’s flea market estimated to be worth €415 million by 2021, ITCH is in the purr-fect position to take a sizable bite out of the market.
“The popularity of direct-to-consumer goods brands offering products continues to grow at pace,” said James Cox, co-founder and chairman of ITCH. “We’ve seen everything from healthcare, financial services, travel, transport and electronic goods all race to innovate so that they can directly engage with customers using social, mobile, and digital channels and devices. It’s now time for the buoyant pet care market to innovate.
“We have over a decade of experience in the pet industry, and are always looking at ways we can improve the lives of pets, and their owners. In the coming months, we’ll be launching the ITCH Care platform which will harness the power of data to connect pet owners to our network of world-class content, both curated and user generated. This will provide pet owners with access to the answers they need to the wide range of well-being questions which can arise on a daily basis.”
“Historically, pet owners have had little guidance, beyond going to the vet, when it comes to day to day questions that arise when it comes to pet wellbeing,” continued Cox. “ITCH’s AI powered platform has been built to simplify this process, providing pet owners globally, with access to easy-to-digest content at the tip of their fingers.
“We code from the ground up, making it possible to react to any therapeutic requirement, tailor advice and integrate with third party tools to further enhance the experience. We’re not replacing vets, quite the opposite, we work with them, with the aim of separating the therapeutic care market from the critical care market.”
From July 2019, busy pet owners will never need worry about forgetting to treat for fleas again. They will receive tailored flea treatment kits for their pets, through their letter box at a fraction of the cost of over the counter treatment. Via the ITCH app, pet owners will be sent a reminder when it’s time to administer treatment – the right dose, at the right time, delivered direct to their door.