Wednesday 28 October 2020 7:01 am

Octopus Ventures leads seed funding round in pet-tech firm Katkin

London-based pet food company Katkin has secured £4.5m of funding in a seed round led by venture capital firm Octopus Ventures. 

Katkin was set up by siblings Brett and Nikki O’Farrell to produce healthy cat food after realising the options available didn’t provide cats with the nutrition they needed. 

Read more: Shakespeare: Lockdown pups give Pets at Home a boost

The wet food contains 95 per cent real meat which replicates what cats have evolved to eat in the wild. 

And by using technology Katkin can personalise food for an individual cat based on a range of inputs, including weight, size, age and activity level. 

Developing a personalised and species appropriate diet has been a challenge for the industry because fresh meat is expensive and difficult to store. Katkin ships frozen meals directly to the customer through a subscription service and by doing so is able to both lower the cost of the meal and remove the need for preservatives. 

The £4.5m investment will be used to expand across the UK and develop its personalised products. Despite only launching last year Katkin is now the highest rated cat food brand on Trustpilot.  

“The aim is simple: to provide quality ingredients from top tier suppliers and a high meat content tailored to the unique nutritional needs of cats,” said chief veterinary officer Dr Justin Shmalberg. 

The pet food market has seen enormous growth in recent years, which Octopus Ventures investor Rebecca Hunt told City A.M. is in large part due to people delaying having a family and changing working and living patterns. 

Katkin’s offering is similar to dog food subscription service Butternut Box, which earlier this year received significant investment from private equity firm L Catterton.
“The market remains dominated by incumbent players who are not innovating… there is a big opportunity for a brand like Katkin, which puts personalisation and health of the cat at the heart of its product”, Hunt said. 

“Pets are becoming more and more the core of our family units for many people. So there is more willingness and desire to spend and make sure our pets have the same level of diet and health care we do.”

Read more: Pets at Home’s the pick of the litter as it lifts full-year profit expectations

The Octopus team already has experience within the sector, having been one of the first institutional investors in dog food brand Tails.com in 2013 before exiting in 2018.

And in a sign of the times, Hunt revealed introductions between the two teams were done first via Zoom.

“I think you can get to know people pretty well over Zoom, and I think in some way it’s refreshing because you get to have lots more regular check-ins rather than a block of time and making a decision.”

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