Business

Aug. 13, 2014 7:45 am

Why MontCo ecommerce biz Pet360 invested $300K in startup PetCoach

PetCoach connects pet owners with experts who can answer their questions about pet health. Pet360 is a Plymouth Meeting-based e-retailer for "pet parents."

The PetCoach team at DreamIt Austin's demo day, with CEO David Martin on the far right.

(Photo courtesy of PetCoach)

Pet360, a Plymouth Meeting-based e-retailer for “pet parents,” invested $300,000 in PetCoach, a DreamIt Austin startup that lets users ask experts questions about their pets.

Pet360 runs a handful of brands, including petMD, an online library of pet health resources, and PetFoodDirect, an e-retailer, and thought PetCoach filled a customer need.

“Pet Parents want to know ‘what to do’ in the care of their pet,” Pet360 CEO Brock Weatherup wrote in an email. “While the neighbor or friend is a great resource, they are by no means an expert.”

The investment is also one of the reasons PetCoach CEO David Martin moved to Philadelphia after his team finished the DreamIt Ventures accelerator in Texas.

Use PetCoach

Pet360 invested in PetCoach in exchange for equity (Martin wouldn’t disclose how much) and advertising, Martin said. Martin, 30, of Blue Bell, Pa., now works out of Pet360’s office. Martin’s three other team members are based in Spain, where Martin grew up and used to live.

PetCoach, which is in soft-launch mode, lets users ask experts — vets and trainers — questions about, say, their pug’s bladder stones or a dog that “humps excessively.” It doesn’t pay its experts per question, though there are some economic incentives related to advertising, Martin said. Instead, Pet360 acts as a marketing tool for the experts, he said. They hope to build their team of experts to 1,000, Martin told the Daily News. The service is free for users.

PetCoach plans to monetize with advertising, Martin said. Aside from Pet360’s $300,000, PetCoach raised $150,000 in a friends and family round and $25,000 from DreamIt.

While there are companies that offer free advice in other fields (Clarity and HealthTap, for example), there aren’t many others that focus on pets, but they exist: PetHealthHelpline, based in the Boston area, is one.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technical.ly Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called “It’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

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