Last year we invested in Petflow, an online petfood retailer. We believed that Alex and Joe, the two cofounders, would be able to repeat the success they had in founding Azoogle (now part of Epic Media Group) and that the repeat purchase behavior inherent in petfood would generate loyal repeat customers and high lifetime value, despite the high shipping costs inherent in petfood. Pets.com went down in flames when the first bubble burst, but we believe that today’s much lower cost of building and running an ecommerce site, today’s variable marketing costs that performance marketing affords, and today’s mainstream acceptance of ecommerce make this a much better opportunity.
Others see a similar opportunity, notably Quidsi (parent company of Diapers.com) who launched Wag.com.
Alex and Joe have been steadfast in their focus on high quality food and service, and it’s nice to see that recognized in yesterday’s WSJ Cranky Consumer article comparing online petfood retailers. The higher quality focus is noted, despite the fact that the tester is used to cheaper supermarket brand food:
Tester Pixel loved this food. We put out two bowls: one with Meow Mix and one with the Holistic Select. He went right for the Holistic Select, and now turns up his nose at Meow Mix. Pixel may force us to return to PetFlow.
Mr. Chewy also got a thumbs up, Wag and Petfooddirect unfortunately did not. Congrats to Joe and Alex!