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Ratan Tata and Ronnie Screwvala invest in pet-centric start-up Dogspot.in

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Posted on January 7, 2015: Rana Atheya is a happy man. The successful chief executive officer and founder of dogspot.in, a delightfully pet-centric start-up that brings all sorts of pet care products to one convenient online platform, had enough reasons to smile already  with his business catching on with India’s growing pet parenting population. But now, he’s added a few financial backers to his team who can help Rana really turn things around. “I knew that Mr. Tata is passionate about dogs and start-ups. This made me approach Mr Tata,” he explains, “I am feeling very good. Mr. Tata’s investment is a big endorsement to not only to DogSpot.in but to the pet industry as a whole. It has helped the team internally to feel proud of working with DogSpot.in.”

Dogspot marks Ratan Tata's 20th investment in the startup space who after retiring as the Chairman of the Tata Group has been actively involved in funding and nurturing startups . Mr Tata is joined by Ronnie Screwvala, entrepreneur and founder of UTV Group, in investing an as-yet-undisclosed amount of money in Dogspot.in.

Since his retirement in 2012, Mr Tata has been handpicking promising start-ups to invest in India. “I see if I can be of help in supporting or helping a founder who doesn’t get funding from others because his business is not a sexy business. If a founder has passion and innovation, he needs to be supported. I am more intuitive than a number (of) person(s), and I recognise that not all investments are going to be positive. Some may fail and some may have problems for other reasons. That is life,” Mr Tata told Kunal Bahl from snapdeal.com in an insightful interview on why he’s investing in start-ups on Quartz India.

Both the businessmen are known to have a soft spot for dogs. It is reported that Mr Tata once moved a bunch of stray dogs, soaking in the Mumbai rain, to shelter in the lobby of his $110 billion office building, Bombay House. In fact, these canines can be seen lounging around the reception of the Tata Group headquarters on most days.

Pet care prowess

“Indian pet industry is the fastest growing pet industry globally. I feel the socio-economic (situation) of the country is ready for the boom in this sector,” predicts Rana, “I believe the pet market in India will explode in the next five years as India urbanises further. DogSpot.in is as much a destination to know more about pets as it is about the e-commerce of pets.”

According to figures compiled by the India International Pet Trade Fair (IIPTF), an annual Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer event which started in New Delhi in 2007, the Indian pet market totals at $800 million in value with forecasted sale of cat and dog food to go over $100 million in 2016. The ninth and latest edition of IIPTF will be held over January 29 – 31, 2016 in Pune, Maharashtra. The number of households in India with at least one dog in them is also set to grow. So, it makes good business sense that Rana plans to scale operations up in the future.

“We will add more products in every category for pets. DogSpot will be the most loved household brand for all pet homes in India. We aim to be part of every pet home in some way or the other,” he explains.

But for Rana, Dogspot.in isn’t simply a business venture, thanks to his own deep love for the four-legged. “I am a sworn animal lover and have an extreme affinity towards dogs,” he insists, “Having always lived with dogs, I currently have a Lhasa Apso called Jumbo. He is now 8-years-old.”

Well luckily for him, Jumbo wouldn’t need to go very far looking for some pet care pampering and TLC, would he?

With the pet care industry looking to grow in such a big way that it has even caught the eye of business bigwigs, could India be set to become a more pet-friendly society? Will we see dogs being allowed on public transport and in to restaurants and cafes next?

DISCLOSURE: Dogspot.in is an advertiser on Gingertail.in

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