As science tells us more about our furry friends, we discover there is more to their lives than just eating, sleeping, and being cute. Over the years, we have learned how loyal dogs are and how cunning cats can be, so the latest trend of treating your “fur babies” like little hairy humans is no real shocker. The trend towards “pet humanisation” has caused a knock-on effect in the tech industry with large sums of money invested in PetTech startups across the globe.
Southeast Asia is no different, and analysts such as Future Market Insights predict the regional market will reach $1.4 billion USD by 2020. Pampered pooches and feted felines are common in many countries. With urbanisation proliferating, many of these pets are getting smaller, but the spend on their wellbeing is increasing. In this article, we look at some of the companies cashing in on these cuddly critters.
This Singaporean company has set up a Tinder-like “social petworking” app to match dog lovers with dogs for playdates, walkies, and cuddles. Pet owners earn $10 SGD for allowing human “furfriends” to come and socialise with their dogs, all while under the supervision of the owner to ensure both the dog and the playmate’s safety.
Furfriends members find a dog they like from the many profiles in the app and can then contact the owner and make mutually suited arrangements. Everyone’s a winner in this transaction, with the pet parents getting paid, the dogs socialising with people other than their family, and the animal lover getting the benefits of playing with a cuddly canine or feline without having to worry about the trials of ownership.
Tagged as “pet care simplified,” Pawrus is another PetTech startup from Singapore, founded in 2014. Spotting a pet care knowledge gap in bricks and mortar stores, Pawrus is as an online resource and pet store designed to make caring for your pets easier.
With added services such as dog training and grooming, they have become the go-to source for all Singapore’s pet queries, products and services in a somewhat crowded market. The company has built a reputation and trust over the years by getting to know their customers, including the animals and using veterinary books and resources to help give pet advice.
Similar to Pawrus, Petku is an online supplier of all things cat and dog in Indonesia. A fully fledged e-commerce site offering food, medications and equipment for pets, the Jakarta-based startup helps keep Fido fed and Mitzy medicated, by conveniently delivering their needs to your door.
Their stated mission is “to improve the life quality of pets through the use of technology and education.” And it looks like they are achieving this goal. Founded in January 2017, the company has entered the market at a time of growth. Despite Indonesia being a predominately Muslim country and dogs being haram (ritually impure) in Islam, there has been some growth in ownership, but the cat is still king in this island nation with an estimated 2 million kept as pets. As incomes increase, spend on pets also increases, giving Petku an eager market.
Malaysia is a foodie heaven, where delights and delicacies can be delivered to your door at almost any time, day or night. Now their pets can indulge too, thanks to PetChef. This innovative food service, founded in 2017, uses human-grade, halal ingredients, prepared in a pork-free kitchen that perfectly serves its market. The company even makes its own lunches from the same ingredients.
As a subscription-based service, orders are placed for a two-week supply of freshly made food, with plans tailored to meet your pet’s dietary needs. PetChef aims to take the guesswork out of feeding your animals.
Bangkok-based PetInsure were the first to the market with an online pet insurance platform, and this innovative approach won them awards and plaudits. One such award was the Samart Innovation Award in 2017, landing them a monetary boost to the tune of $6,000 USD.
Offering pet insurance packages at competitive prices, the company also has an inhouse vet to examine the dog or cat before the plan is approved. Alternatively, you can also have your pet examined by your local vet and have them complete the necessary documents.
With these and other companies taking the worry out of costly medical bills, helping pets have a healthy diet, providing equipment and catering to dog’s social needs, it is fair to say startups in Southeast Asia are looking to PetTech to fill a distinct market.
As animal ownership grows, the pet humanisation trend will no doubt develop in tandem, creating even more opportunities for startups to innovate and move into the pet-centric world of technology.