The pet products and services market is growing rapidly, regardless of macroeconomic conditions. Pets have become an increasingly important part of our individual and family home environment. Economically, spending on pets is increasing at more than 10 percent per year. In 2019, the market size was more than $80 billion in the U.S. alone, with more than half of the growth among millennials. Reports already forecast a global market size of $241 billion by 2025, with a six percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
However, the pet industry is a latecomer to the digital era. There are thousands of standalone apps that service small segments of the market. A review of the overall digital world revealed that it is the large aggregator platforms which are attracting consumers, e.g., Etsy, Expedia, Airbnb, etc. We recognized there was not one platform in the pet space that connected the different needs pet owners require—from veterinarians to pet stores, and pet services like walkers, groomers, trainers, food, and medications. This opportunity presented the potential for massive disruption if we could solve this challenge.
Co-Founder and CEO
I was the CO-founder/CEO of BabelBark, a pet care technology company I conceptualized with my partner when we recognized a unique market opportunity to create a digital platform that would link every aspect of care in a pet’s life together in one place. As a founder, my overall responsibility was in Operations, Finance, HR, and in developing partnerships with leading companies in the animal health space. My specific expertise was in Operations, the result of over 20 years of operational experience as an operations manager across public and private companies at all levels, and as a CEO of startups. Additionally, I built and/or reshaped operations in new business units and subsidiaries of large or mid-market companies, with a focus on team building and employee buy-in.
BabelBark was built over the course of five years to be a mega platform for the pet industry, and was the world’s first holistic platform for the entire pet ecosystem. Our overall strategy was to capture and consolidate data from untapped supply (pets, veterinary clinics, and pet businesses, then use this data to enable latent demand (services, promotions, and payments).
Led by an exceptional team of market leaders and a stellar team, the company underwent three rounds of capital raises. During that time, hundreds of thousands of pet owners joined the platform and were connected to thousands of pet-focused businesses and veterinary clinics. We achieved a 400 percent plus growth in business users in 18 months and grew consumer use by more than 500 percent, with 10 million API (Application Programming Interface) sessions, in a period of six months. With an agile and visible social media strategy, 50 million impressions were delivered across Google and Facebook ad networks. There were 100,000 app downloads at 75 cents conversion cost, and a 4.3-star lifetime rating across Apple App Store and Google Play.