What pet dreams are made of!

Founded in 2011 by the husband-wife team of Ashish and Poorvi Anthony, JUSTDOGS’ plans to expand its retail presence to 150 stores across the country by 2025 and  touch Rs 1000 crore in revenue with an equitable distribution of business from online and offline channels.

What pet dreams are made of!
Poorvi Anthony, Co-Founder at JUSTDOGS

Petcare startup JUSTDOGS co-founder Poorvi Anthony’s entrepreneurial journey started because of the common love her family and she shared for pets and what better way to reflect her compassion than starting a venture to uplift the general market for them.

“As anything worth doing has its challenges, so did my journey, from landlords refusing to rent a place to a woman to banks insisting my husband be a guarantor when I applied for a loan. But we faced it all and grew for the better. After major, minor and all problems in between we set foot on our journey and never looked back,” says Anthony.

According to marketdecipher.com, the Indian pet care market size is estimated at INR 74,000 crore in 2021 and is expected to reach INR 210,000 crore by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 19.2% during the forecast period of 2022 to 2032.

Founded in 2011 by the husband-wife team of Ashish and Poorvi Anthony, JUSTDOGS’ current operating revenue is Rs. 100 crore. “We have been profitable for all the years we have been operating. We currently stand at a recurring customer base of 3 lakh customers,” Anthony confirms.

The Ahmedabad-based startup, which had been bootstrapped since it was established, raised $7 million from from consumer-focused venture fund Sixth Sense in March 2022.

According to Anthony, with the funding raised, the startup has created a full-stack online experience for the pet parent and invested in the expansion of its offline stores.

Now, a major consideration for the brand is to be hyper local by expanding its retail presence to tier 2 and tier 3 cities along with the metros. “In addition to this, we are also planning to extend product lines in existing home brands of food, training, grooming and hygiene products and increase our product portfolio to include fashion apparel and medically prescribed products,” she explains.

The startup plans to expand its retail presence to 150 stores across the country by 2025 and  touch Rs 1000 crore in revenue with an equitable distribution of business from online and offline channels. 

Currently, the company has 44 stores across 19 cities in India. “We have eight stores in Ahmedabad, six in Bengaluru, seven in Mumbai, four in Pune, two each in Surat, Punjab, Hyderabad and Delhi, and one each in Gandhinagar, Patna, Rajkot, Chennai, Anand, Dehradun, Cochin, Guwahati, Vadodara, Gurugram and Nagpur,” she states. 

The company also has partnerships lined up to provide pet Insurance, engaging events, behaviour and training workshops among other community outreach programmes.

For Anthony, the key revenue drivers in the pet care industry are an increase in adoptions of pets, rising awareness about calorie conversion among pet parents and spa services for grooming and hygiene of the furry companions. 

The company states that it differentiates from other players in the market through a holistic approach of pet care. “We have created an omni- channel approach utilizing various channels to provide our products and services with equal emphasis on both online and offline channels,” she says. 

Speaking about challenges as a pet care provider, she says it is lack of awareness. “In our experience, we have observed that most pet parents are not equipped with adequate knowledge of proper customised care for their fur babies. This stands true especially in areas of pet food and training where a lot of myths prevail.”

As a pet care service  provider, Anthony not only hopes to bridge the gap between demand and supply but also to build a rich repository of information and data that will help enrich the lives of both pets and their parents.

Besides being a pet lover she is also an advocate of female entrepreneurship. She believes that female entrepreneurship is driving the entire business world into new avenues and opening up dynamic opportunities for everyone around. “I expect this trend to only gain momentum and see many more female entrepreneurs rise!”

While investors, bankers, angels, entrepreneurs and others are major sources of introductions and advice for venture capitalists (VCs), Anthony does not think that female founders who are not well connected to these networks have slim chances of reaching a VC.

“Even without networks and high flying connections a company’s profitability depends on its employees’ ability to do good work and not . Good work can only stem from motivation which can be geared up by a good management team led by strong leaders. If your company is sustainably profitable you automatically attract VCs and other financiers,” she says.

Disagreeing with the general perception that founding teams with atleast one woman appear less likely to get follow on funding, she says the general understanding of teams with women tend to fall in the discipline bias which makes the overall team look more reliable and trustworthy. “This makes teams with one or more women more likely to get a follow on funding,” says Anthony, who made the switch from being a corporate trainer to founding a pet care business.

So what made her switch careers? “I was standing at a crossroads when we moved to Ahmedabad – either start from the ground up in a job, which meant making relations and contacts all over again, re learning a lot of things and managing my work home balance,” she says. The other road that was in front of her was equally challenging but also the “magnum opportunity of building something of my own that stays on forever”.

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First published on: 13-01-2023 at 15:34 IST
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