Pet care tech, a booming market

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Sheila Zabeu -

April 18, 2023

If the dog is man’s best friend, who would be the dog’s best friend? Currently, we could say it is technology. Proof of this is that the so-called global pet tech market that technologies for pets was valued at $5 billion in 2022 and is expected to show a compound annual growth rate of up to 15% in the period between 2023 and 2032, reaching over $35 billion.

Among the technological resources aimed at the well-being and health of these small animals, there are monitoring devices that help their owners to follow their pets’ behaviour and location, collecting data, for example, on their blood glucose levels.

Pet market numbers

To keep pets safe, smart collars with GPS technology and a mobile application can, for example, create virtual fences. When the dog approaches them, it receives a personalized stimulus to draw its attention and guide it away from the fences.

The main drivers for the evolution of the pet tech market, according to a study by Global Market Insights, are the growing concerns about the physical and psychological health of animals, higher adoption levels of rescued pets in the United States, higher demand for monitoring devices and the emergence of more startups operating in this sector, among others.

The obstacles to more intense growth of the pet tech market are the still high costs of the products and the high energy consumption of pet wearables, as well as the little knowledge about the benefits of these devices, such as collars, waistcoats, smart doors that can be controlled remotely by mobile phones, using microchips or facial recognition and Artificial Intelligence.

The pet health apps segment is expected to account for more than 25% of this market share by 2032. Many smart devices are being developed to monitor the health of pets, such as the Dearbuds PE technology, launched in February 2023 by Linkface, which, by means of a digital device, controls the humidity levels of dogs and cats’ ears, as ear infections are very common in these animals.

Even the famous GoPro cameras are already thinking about this market. The Fetch Dog Harness model allows you to capture images from different perspectives of dogs, while they run, play or dig holes.

In the not too distant future, perhaps it will be common to see intelligent robots keeping pets company at home while their guardians are at work.

Investors sniffing out opportunities

Further evidence of the attractiveness of the petcare tech market is the growing investments in Europe showing no signs of slowing down. Early-stage startups are raising funds continuously, and many of them are acquiring other companies to grow. Moreover, newly founded startups are attracting millions in investment already in their first years.

Unleashed, Purina’s startup accelerator, organised in March its first Pet Tech Meetup event, which brought together 85 startups with innovative solutions for the pet care market and 35 investors in Austria. Launched by the Purina Accelerator Lab, the accelerator programme is designed to give startups a platform to connect with investors, foster relationships other companies and exchange knowledge on the latest technologies and innovations in the industry.

In the first panel discussion, Hubert Wieser, Director of Nestlé Purina, spoke about what investors are looking for, opportunities and current challenges in the face of current economic uncertainties. In addition, 18 startups presented their business models to a jury of investors in three-minute pitches in the categories Digi Tech, Health Tech and Food Tech. The winners and runners-up received cash prizes from Purina.

The Sifted website spoke to three investors present at the event and asked which startups were on their radars. The top eight they pointed out were:

  • Mammaly – Based in the German city of Cologne, it operates in the nutrition sector, with supplements and treats to help dogs with digestive problems.

  • Fluffy – Pet insurance and care app for the UK public that combines preventative care solutions, such as a digital veterinary clinic, online pharmacy and telehealth, with smart insurance products to reduce vet costs.

  • Paaw – Paris-based digital pet adoption platform. Due to its B2B model, pet care brands on the platform can establish long-term relationships with pet guardians.

  • PharmaPet – With headquarters in Belgium and operations in the Netherlands and France, it is a marketplace for approved veterinary foods.

  • Just Russel – Startup in the area of animal nutrition, uses proprietary AI technology to develop its formulas and meet the specific needs of pets.

  • Cooper Pet Care – Amsterdam-based pet care platform that aims to digitise all aspects of animal health.

  • PETGENOMA – London-based pet DNA testing platform that aims to extend the lives of dogs, in better health, using genetic testing to prevent and delay disease.

  • VetChip – Biosensor placed under the skin that provides information on animal health. The startup, based in Australia, can alert guardians and vets when an animal is unwell, often well before it shows symptoms.