Deals

Doggyloot aims to become big dog in online pet commerce

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You know those crazy people who squeal whenever they see a dog and coo over puppy pictures on the Internet?  I am one of them. And so you can imagine my excitement when a funding story that involved dogs came my way.

Doggyloot is a daily deals site for dogs and their people. Today it announced closing $2.5 million in its first round of financing .

Doggyloot sells a range of pet products at discounted prices, with free shipping. It also offers a monthly subscription service where you can schedule repeat deliveries of your favorite products. Categories include chews, toys, treats, and necessities like poop bags.

Pet owners are forecasted to spend more than $55 billion on their pets in 2013. Dogs, like children, require lots of stuff, and parents don’t always have the time to drive to the store to pick these things up. Plus pet stores usually smell weird. Buying pet products online is a convenient alternative, particularly when you can subscribe to necessities, and sites like Amazon and Pets.com operate robust e-commerce businesses in this vertical.

Doggyloot is built off the daily deals model. It offers a more tightly curated experience than large online stores and gives consumers the benefit of discounted products. The struggles of Groupon, Living Social, and GiltGroupe (as well as the failures of their startup clones) has generated some legitimate skepticism over the potential of the daily deals/flash sales model and for many consumers the approach is played out. However daily deals can do well when there is a specific, niche market of consumers willing to spend money in that niche. Take the case of Zulily, a daily deals site for moms and their kids that is valued at $1 billion and has over 10 million members. It is growing fast and has raised $138 million to accommodate this growth.

Even within the tiny niche of dog daily deals, Doggyloot has competitors. Coupaws and Dealwagger offers daily deals for dogs and cats and LeLePets is a pet-oriented flash sale site. Doggyloot was founded in 2011 and has 700,000 active subscribers. This financing, led by Origin Ventures with participations from the Sandbox Advantage Fund, will fuel hiring.