Frederick the Great of Prussia is credited with first using the term “man’s best friend” and it was popularized in an Ogden Nash poem thereafter. Since then, the relationship between humans and canines has only grown deeper. Yet you would never feed your “best friend” the ingredients that are found in most common packaged dog food if you knew what was in it. Thankfully, there is a solution. The Farmer’s Dog has created a fresh, direct to consumer pet food offering that’s personalized to your dog’s needs. Designed by veterinarians who understand the intricacies of different breeds, your dog can eat healthier, live longer; giving you more time with your “best friend”. With $10.1M in funding under its belt since its founding in 2014 from investors that include SV Angel, Collaborative Fund, and Shasta Ventures, The Farmer’s Dog is looking to disrupt the growing pet food market.
AlleyWatch chatted with founder and CEO Jonathan Regev about the company and how they plan to grow.
Tell us about the product or service.
The Farmer’s Dog is completely rethinking how pet food is manufactured and marketed by sending freshly made food directly to customers’ doors. I founded the company with Brett Podolsky in 2015. We are a direct-to-consumer fresh pet food company that creates made-to-order meal plans, designed by veterinarians, and customized using smart technology to meet the ideal nutritional needs of every dog.
How is it different?
The pet food typically found on a retail shelf is arguably the most highly processed food in existence. By shipping directly to customers on subscription, The Farmer’s Dog is able to circumvent retail stores and make food fresh, reducing their costs for superior ingredients and offering customers unparalleled food quality at an affordable price point. Food never sits on a shelf for months (or years) at a time, and customers never have to worry about running out. By leveraging smart technology and proprietary algorithms, The Farmer’s Dog can create customized meal plans based on a dog’s individual profile using data about age, breed, size, activity level, and sensitivities. The fresh, veterinarian-designed food is then pre-portioned and delivered in personalized and ready-to-serve meals within days of preparation.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
The Farmer’s Dog is on a mission to disrupt the $70 billion global pet food market.
What is the business model?
We are strictly online and subscription based only so that we can utilize our knowledge of predictable demand to run lean on inventory and produce a fresh product. Shipping directly to customers also allows us to create a personalized experience while cutting out middlemen retailers and distributors.
What inspired the business?
The Farmer’s Dog was inspired after Brett’s battle to cure his Rottweiler Jada’s stomach issues illustrated the power of fresh food. After testing every pet food on the market without success, Brett resorted to a fresh, home-cooked diet at his vet’s recommendation and the results were staggering — Jada was cured.
After witnessing Jada’s transformation, Brett and I knew we had to create a solution for other pet parents who were searching for a healthy, trustworthy option. We designed a product that we wished existed for our own dogs; a service that takes a fresh approach to pet food and gives pet parents the peace of mind that they’re feeding their dogs the healthiest diet possible.
What do you see as an exit path for this venture?
We’re building a healthy and self-sustaining business and are not currently focused on any particular route of exit.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We hope to increase capacity, build out our operations, technology, and customer support teams.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Drink water and take care of yourself.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Marc Lore. He’s been able to build the most incredibly savvy and loyal team.
Why did you launch in New York?
New York seemed to be building the most exciting and innovative food scene and was at the forefront of commerce innovation.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
What is “after work?”