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TailsLife’s founder Balaji Ramesh.
TailsLife’s founder Balaji Ramesh.

What apps have to do with pet care

The latest addition to the growing pet industry are startups that offer apps for pet care services

Each time Mumbai-based Amit Verma, 36, got online to look up pet care products and grooming and other services for Spock, his Cocker Spaniel, he was flooded with information that left him lost. Frustrated, Verma decided to take matters into his own hands and joined the pet care industry.

“There was just too much to read and so many products available. I was always confused about what I should eventually buy. That’s when I thought what was actually needed was a one-stop shop for pet services that assured a pet parent of the right stuff," says Verma, who runs a marketing agency.

By mid-2018, Verma launched an app, DoggieTheApp, which offered several services for dogs from vet listings to food and boarding and walker options. “There was nothing like that at that point and I was certain that it would help pet parents like me."

The latest addition to the growing pet industry are startups that offer apps for pet care services. TailsLife is one of them. Like Verma, Balaji Ramesh, 34, too realized the amount of information available on pet care was overwhelming and decided to launch TailsLife in 2015 to cut through the clutter. “I started out by writing articles, but through the app, we provided customized content for pets based on their age and other details. The market was pretty good and I had some savings as well, so I took the plunge," he says.

With an initial investment of 10 lakh, Ramesh launched the app and started providing services in Bengaluru. By 2016, they had received a round of funding, which helped them roll out their own pet food line. “When we started out, we focussed a lot on the number of downloads that we were getting, which climbed to 30,000 at one point. But we soon realised we needed to monetize the app to keep the business sustainable when the investments dried up. That’s how we got into manufacturing natural dog food, which is our primary source of revenue today," Ramesh says.

PetPals, too, started out with an app two years ago and gradually added services like food, walkers and vets, besides assistance when it comes to adoption and rescues for dogs and cats.

While there have always been several websites providing similar services, Verma believes an app is critical since the entire experience is personalized.

DoggieTheApp registers 800 to 1,000 downloads each month. Verma banks on his in-house techies for any changes on the app, besides a sales team that drives revenues. They take a margin on all services that work on a peer-to-peer model and currently have 2,500 active customers across Mumbai.

“On our app, you can organize everything from deworming schedules to medical and vaccination records. We even provide e-consultation by vets. The way the platform is built, you should be able to use it for the smallest requirement of the pet; a website would have been too cumbersome for something like this," Verma says.

The Pet Club looks at millennials who are driving the petcare startup space.

rite to us at businessoflife@livemint.com

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