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Marketing Effort Brings $8 Million to Customized Pet Food Startup

Playful golden retriever puppyPet owners around the world go to great lengths to ensure their four-legged friends are happy and healthy. The Farmer’s Dog, a customized pet food startup that’s quickly gaining attention, knows that and is cashing in. The unique company has raised an impressive $8 million in a Series A round led by Shasta Ventures.

Considering that almost half of all households in the U.S. own a dog, pet food is a big industry. In fact, global pet food sales totaled at almost $70 billion in 2015 alone. The New York City-based company, founded in the same year by Brett Podolsky and Jonathan Regev, aims to deliver fresh, custom-made food to pet owners everywhere. The pair of founders claims to have delivered over 1 million customized meals already.

This is just the latest in a growing trend of subscription-based services. In fact, it’s expected to be the next successful subscription service backed by Shasta Ventures, whose accomplishments include Dollar Shave Club and Warby Parker.

Founder Brett Podolsky says the idea for the company came to him after he began cooking customized meals for his dog on the recommendation of a veterinarian. Podolsky’s dog, a Rottweiler named Jada, had suffered from stomach issues and didn’t experience any improvement in her condition until he began cooking for her.

“It got us looking into the pet food industry. We noticed that while all of the marketing revolved around healthy buzzwords like ‘real’ and ‘natural,’ the products inside the bag were generally the same highly processed mystery food left on the shelf for a year or two,” Podolsky and Regev told TechCrunch in an email.

Just as humans have become more aware of what goes into their food, pet owners are becoming more concerned about what their furry friends are eating. For example, farmed salmon has more than three times the amount of saturated fat that wild salmon does. Podolsky and Regev are taking this knowledge and using it to cater to a more health-conscious pet food market.

“We simply made a product that we wished existed for our own dogs,” Regev told Forbes.

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