May 15, 2020


Tracking the Pet Tech Industry


Radio Systems Corporation Acquired by Private Equity Firm
(smart feeders, misc gadgets)

Radio Systems Corporation, the 800 pound gorilla of pet technology, is being acquired by private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. 

Radio Systems makes more than 2,000 products under brand names such as PetSafe, Invisible Fence, ScoopFree and SportDog. Randy Boyd started the company in 1991 selling underground wireless pet fences out of the back of a van.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but we can confidently say that the sales price contained a whole bunch of zeroes. Radio Systems annual revenue is more than $400 million

New York-based CD&R is not new to the pet industry. In 2015, the firm invested $40 million in Vet’s First Choice, a veterinary tech company.  Vet’s First Choice merged with Henry Schein in 2019 and is now called Covetrus.

Bond Pet Foods Debuts its First Dog Treat
(pet food & delivery)

Boulder-based Bond Pet Foods, a biotech startup that uses fermentation to create animal-free pet food, announced the release of its first consumer product this week. The Protein-Packed Dog treat bar is a snack that provides supplemental nutrition to a dog’s existing diet.  Pre-orders are available from the company’s website, where a box of four 1.75 ounce bars is priced at $20.

Bond participated in Purina’s Pet Care Innovation Prize startup accelerator program in 2019 and raised $1.2 million in seed funding. One of the investors is a vegan Saudi Prince who invests in vegan and clean-meat startups.   

Veterinary Telemedicine Skyrockets During Pandemic (pet health)

Many pet owners are using virtual vets as they remain under stay-at-home orders.

CNBC reports that pet telehealth consultations have jumped 170 percent month over month.

Companies are making moves to ride this wave:

  • PetIQ announced the launch of a telehealth service in partnership with whiskerDocs. The telehealth service is complimentary for customers who have visited one of PetIQ’s service locations in the past.
  • LifeLearn Animal Health is teaming with Petriage to add their telehealth platform to LifeLearn’s suite of tech products.
  • Vetsource, a provider of technology tools to vet clinics, has acquired Vet2Pet, a mobile app for vet practices that has several telemedicine features. 


Zoetis Enters the US Pet Insurance Market 
(pet insurance)

Zoetis, the world’s largest pet pharmaceutical company, has jumped into the pet insurance market.

The New Jersey-based company announced that it is rolling out Pumpkin Pet Insurance, which will offer preventive coverage in addition to standard pet medical policies. The company will also offer home delivery of its flea, tick and heartworm medicine to policyholders.

Zoetis partnered with entrepreneur Alex Douzet, co-founder of subscription dog food company Ollie, to create Pumpkin.

This move is a bit surprising, because the pet insurance market is relatively small when compared to the pet pharmaceutical industry. Zoetis has a $60 billion dollar market cap and posted over $6 billion in revenue in 2019. Meanwhile, the combined total premium volume for all US & Canadian pet insurance companies was about $1.5 billion last year. Purina exited the pet insurance industry years ago because it’s pet insurance revenue was too small to move the needle compared to pet food sales.

On the other hand, Zoetis is a very entrepreneurial company, constantly buying up businesses and integrating new medicines into its catalog of products targeted to vet practices. Pet insurance could be the start of a new channel that delivers products directly to pet owners, bypassing veterinarians.

Feb 28, 2020