The online marketplace for pet food, pet toys, and everything but the pets themselves pulled in hundreds of millions of dollars of venture capital in 1988, IPO’d in 2000, bought a Super Bowl ad in January of that year, and shuttered the company in November.
Perhaps the company was just 12 years early.
I’ve been seeing a lot of pitches for dog and cat product startups lately, including DoggyLoot, a daily deal site for chews, toys, and treats for dogs. The company says that 4 percent of pet products are sold online today, with a 12 percent annual growth rate.
With $2 million in venture funding from Sandbox Venture Fund, hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and several million in revenue in just its first year (which is probably more than Pets.com in all its ill-fated history) the company may just be proving that now is finally the time for pet sales online.
It helps that DoggyLoot is not focused on food, which is heavy and costly to ship. According to data the company assembled, more than three-quarters of dog owners have made online purchases, mostly of toys, medicines, and accessories or toys. Those are higher value and higher margin products which ship easily and efficiently.
The company put together an infographic showing the state of the industry, at least so far as dogs are concerned: