Fuzzy – The Pet Parent Company, a subscription-based pet health care startup, received new backing as it aims to tap into the $100 billion spent on pets in 2020 alone, as well as to democratize access to pet care through pet parent education and virtual care options.
Zubin Bhettay and Eric Palm started the San Francisco-based company as an in-home veterinary care business in 2016 after both experienced costly and not-so-great experiences taking their pets to receive care.
“I spent five hours at the vet for something that could have been monitored at home, and got a bill for $2,500, which was more than I expected,” Bhettay, CEO of Fuzzy, told Crunchbase News. “Pet parents want the care to be better, but are often still lost and confused. There were no credible sources to go to.”
To continue its development, Fuzzy raised $18 million in Series B funding led by Greycroft to give the company total funding of $36 million, according to Bhettay.
Although the original version of the company received seed and Series A funding, the investor appetite was not as high. It was also taking too long to scale and expand, Bhettay said.
In 2019, the company went in a new direction — the e-commerce/telemedicine pet space — aiming to capitalize on the success some subscription-based companies, such as Curology, were having.
They created a personalized pet care experience that provides vet-recommended pet care and triage regardless of financial or geographic constraints. Currently, more than 50 percent of the 200 million pets in the United States have no access to veterinary care, Bhettay said.
Fuzzy’s subscription plans include a basic plan for $16.99 per month, or for $99 per year users receive unlimited access to the platform. Many users found Fuzzy during an emergency, but continued to use it, asking other questions such as about nutrition, life stage or preparing to bring a pet into the home, Bhettay said. He estimates that Fuzzy’s most engaged customers use the platform at least three times per week, with an average being three times per month.
“Fuzzy is disrupting the $75B pet care industry by building an all-digital veterinary practice that provides owners with frictionless access to care at a fraction of the cost,” said Ian Sigalow, co-founder and partner of Greycroft, in a written statement. “We’re excited to support Fuzzy as they expand their team, build an exceptional service for pet lovers, and bring the vet directly to consumers.”
Investors joining the round include existing investors Crosscut Ventures and Matrix Partners, as well as new investor Gaingels.
The new funding will enable Fuzzy to expand its product offerings over the next nine months and build out its team.
Although it took three years to get to 10,000 households, Fuzzy was able to achieve that same milestone in the first six months of 2020, and is now up nearly five times that amount, Bhettay said. He expects to continue to see that kind of trajectory in customer base, as well as revenue, going forward.
“We believe in being the front door for pet wellness,” he added. “Last year, everyone got a puppy, but on the flip side, it led to increased abandonment and shelters got overwhelmed. People feel like they are not supported. We believe we can address that gap and are setting up pricing in a way that everyone can get access.”
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