Pet food startup Dogsee aims to be a Rs 500 Cr brand in the next 3 years

Husband and wife Bhupendra Khanal and Sneh Sharma founded founded Dogsee Chew in 2015 in bengaluru to provide dogs with 100 percent natural, gluten-free, and grain-free treats. According to them, Dogsee aims to challenge the status quo of chemically manufactured and preservatives infused dog treats and give way to more natural options.

The founders started the pet food startup with an initial investment of about Rs 50 lakh. Dogsee closed FY22 with a revenue run rate of Rs 100 crore, and is targeting Rs 300 crore in the current fiscal.

The startup now claims to be growing at 10-15 percent quarter to quarter, and has seen 200 percent growth in the last two years.

At present, the brand is available in 5,000+ retail stores across 30 countries. Dogsee Chew has 30+ SKUs and a sales volume of over 100 tons per month.

Certified by PET Associations of India, its products are available on all major veterinary clinics across India. The brand also sells through its own website and other marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Bigbasket, Instamart, Super Tails, Snapdeal, and others.

How was it started?

Dogsee founders are the loving parents of a Golden Retriever pet named Mowgli. Being very conscious about healthy living and healthy eating, both Sneh and Bhupendra used to struggle finding healthy treat options for Mowgli.

“Most of the treats available in the market were made of rawhide, a byproduct of the leather industry. The rawhide is usually treated with strong chemicals and preservatives, which are very harmful for dogs,” says Bhupender.

Their quest to solve this problem took them to the remote corners of the upper Himalayas, where they encountered Chhurpi, a hard yak cheese, which is typically consumed by humans as a rich source of protein. During their trip, they saw that dogs would steal these treats and gnaw on them. They realized that this cheese, with its bone-like hardness, could become a healthy alternative to rawhide treats. That’s when they decided to introduce this healthy treat to pet parents across the globe.

The startup introduced its flagship product — the Dogsee Chew Hard Bars – that are long lasting dental chews made from cow and yak cheese. These bars are custom made for dogs based on their size, age, and breed, which not only add to a nutritious diet, but also help fight plaque and tartar.

Its product line also includes Dogsee Chew’s Puffed Treats made from cow and yak cheese and Dogsee Crunch – single ingredient training treats made from real fruits or vegetables.

The product pricing starts from Rs 199 and goes up to Rs 2,299 per product.

The team

Bhupendra, an engineer, started his career as an analyst and went on to become the Founder and CEO of Simplify 360, a social media analytics company. Sneh, an entrepreneur herself, started her own company in partnership after her MBA. Soon, she ventured on her own to form a full-service digital agency called Ittisa Digital Media.

The couple’s common passion for health and pets led them on the path of bettering the health of pets across the globe.

From just the two co-founders in 2015, the startup has now grown to a team size of 200+ employees.

The USP and competition

“The product has three major USPs – this is the only all organic, 100 percent vegetarian treats/chews for dogs that works as an alternative to bones/rawhide. It’s high in protein and low on carbs, making them ideal for dogs, and the Himalayan connection brings rare minerals along with all organic alternatives to the processed treats,” Bhupender tells YourStory.

“Cheese treats are a new concept in India. Dogsee was the pioneer in introducing Himalayan cheese treats to India,” he adds.

The startup competes with established players like Pedigree and Royal Canin. Globally, a few players like Himalayan Dog Chews, Yakkers, etc., operate in a similar space.

Speaking about the challenges, Bhupender states, “Our top challenge was to convince people that vegetarian food is good for dogs as long as nutrition is fulfilled. Most of the pet parents and even the vets felt otherwise. We convinced them all scientifically by working on nutrition and the fact that any mammal survives on milk for the first few months when they are born. Milk products are indeed good for all mammals, including dogs.”

The present and future

The country’s pet care market is expected to grow at a value of Rs 7,500 crore by 2026, according to a report by MarketResearch.com. According to industry estimates, India’s pet population is around 29 million, with dogs making up the bulk of pet ownership.

Dogsee has raised over Rs 100 crore in funding so far from investors like Sixth Sense Ventures and Mankind Pharma, among others. Its major investments are going in setting up manufacturing and processing units.

“Globally, petfoods are much larger than most FMCG categories like oral care and baby foods. The Indian pet food market is at a nascent stage as compared to global markets, with a potential to be 10X of its current size. Dogsee has picked a clear white space with its natural (veg) chews and pet treats as a natural replacement for hide-based chews. We like Dogsee’s approach of establishing its presence in the developed markets while tapping into the India opportunity,” says Nikhil Vora, CEO, Sixth Sense Ventures.

Going forward, the pet treat startup plans to expand its product portfolio to five new products, including dog food, cat food, and cat treats. It also plans to enhance its global presence and amplify its employee acquisition process to scale its current team.

The team also aims to build Dogsee into a Rs 500 crore brand in the next three years, and go for an IPO in the next five years.

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