PetTech startup KatKin has just secured about €21.6 million for its platform aiming to bring fresh and healthy food to cats worldwide. Based in London, the cat food company is taking on a growing market and scaling fast.
PetTech is enjoying an upward spiral at the moment with the sector seeing lots of fresh innovation, investment and growing market potential. Pet parents are willing to spend on products that keep their beloved friends healthy and happy, and investors and innovators are taking notice.
Pet food in particular has interesting market potential. The traditional cat food kibble hasn’t really changed over the decades, and cat owners are starting to look for new alternatives that are made with improved research-based recipes. Owners are starting to question the ingredients in cat food brands, and question the claimed benefits – finding that many food blends are actually made with low-quality fillers, untraceable ‘meat and animal derivatives’ and additives hidden behind hard-to-understand labels. Poorly formulated diets can make cats unhappy, unwell, or overweight, with obesity now one of the top five welfare issues facing cats worldwide.
Taking this on to bring freshly-cooked and personally tailored catfood to homes across the world, KatKin has secured €21.6 million in new funding.
The Series A funding was led by Verlinvest and Perwyn, along with previous investor Octopus Ventures and strategic angels. The funding will be used by KatKin to invest in personalised health plans for cats, invest in more scientific research, and, develop new fresh recipes.
To that end, the brand is expanding its world-first fresh-cooked manufacturing site for cats, creating new jobs within KatKin’s growing team. Using a data-driven approach, its researchers are poised to develop further science-forward solutions to issues making cats unwell, from diabetes to renal disease.
Lopo Champalimaud, Board Director, Verlinvest, said: “I am very excited to partner with Brett, Nikki and the KatKin team on their journey to revolutionise the pet food sector by offering healthy and fresh cat food at competitive prices. This is a sector that Verlinvest has been looking at for some time and KatKin is exactly the kind of innovative and disruptive brand that we love to support on its way to global leadership. Our cats deserve better. ”
KatKin: Providing 100% fresh-cooked meals for cats
Founded in 2019 by sibling duo Brett and Nikki O’Farrell, KatKin is on track to become the cat food brand that pet parents can trust, with an uncompromising commitment to cats’ wellbeing.
Brett O’Farrell, KatKin co-founder explained: “KatKin began when Nikki and I questioned what we were feeding our cats Molly, Kiki and Columbus. The more we asked, the more horrified we were at what we found. So we gathered an ambitious, world-class team of people willing to stick their noses up at the cat food chain. Right now, mainstream cat food is stale – packed with cheap ingredients, hard-to-understand labels and fluffed-up claims.
It’s difficult to find what’s best and customers are frustrated. In contrast, the demand is huge for KatKin – every six months we’re doubling in size and customer base. We’re grateful to Lopo and Cecile at Verlinvest and Andrew at Perwyn, as well as for the continued support from Octopus and our angel investors. This support doesn’t just invest in our business but also the health and happiness of cats and cat parents.”
The brand has developed an ecommerce platform with a proprietary algorithm that helps customers build personalised boxes of fresh meals, perfectly portioned to their cat’s unique traits: their age, weight, activity level, body shape and favourite flavours. The food replicates what cats evolved to eat in the wild – a high-quality protein, high moisture and grain-free diet such as that found in fresh meat.
The product is also formulated by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and each recipe uses 100% human-grade meat.
The London-based company also manages the supply chain from sourcing to shipping, so its product is not just free from preservatives, fillers and mysterious so-called animal derivatives, but is also more personal, and avoids becoming mass-produced. The subscription service is available for about £1.75 a day- making it good value for money for consumers.
While startups are beginning to fill in the cracks of the pet food industry, around 96% of venture capital funding goes to dog-first founders, overlooking a cat market that is expected to be worth around €50 billion by 2030, the fastest-growing sector in global pet food. Legacy brands taking advantage of this have merely polished their marketing without fundamentally improving what cats eat.
KatKin is already feeding about 80k cats across the UK and the team has reported that over 90% of cat parents report real-life improvements: 62% said their cat was more playful and energetic, 65% felt shiny, strokable coats and more than half reported improved digestion, as well as fewer trips to the vets. All better results at 25% less cost than existing premium brands.
Nikki O’Farrell, KatKin co-founder added: “We’re cat parents that love hard. Cat wellbeing happens to be our profession but it’s our passion first. And it shows – we’re the highest-rated cat food brand on Trustpilot. It’s all about creating awareness among cat parents, bringing them together as a community to drive change in the cat food industry. With fresh, personalised and individual meals costing less than other premium brands and most mid-market brands, we’re on a mission to get all cats thriving.”
In the coming years, KatKin strives to raise every area of cat well-being to the standard cats deserve. To feed the universal appetite for fresh food, its sights are set on global expansion in 2023. Sustainable tofu-based and health-indicated litters, worming tablets and flea treatments will launch this year – with smart tech, stimulating toys and fairer insurance all in the pipeline.
Andrew Wynn, founder and Managing Partner, Perwyn, said: “Following our previous investment in the healthy pet food sector, and the invaluable experience that we built up in this market, it has been a delight to get to know Nikki and Brett and to learn about KatKin and the enormous success they have had with their brand. We are very excited to partner with them and to build the next chapter in KatKin’s story. The business is well-positioned to drive growth in the rapidly expanding natural and fresh food market for pets, and we look forward to supporting KatKin on the execution of its expansion plans.”