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.
“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.
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.