The Pet Care industry continues to grow every year as more and more households have started opening up their homes to more furry friends. The current surge in pet ownership is driven by the rise in adoption and nurturing by people restricted to their homes.
According to a report, the Pet Care market size was valued at over $232.3B (approx €190B) in 2020. It is projected to expand at a 6.1 per cent CAGR from 2021 to 2027.
“Technological advancements that are making grooming, training facilities, and boarding accessible to the owners and also assist in keeping track of the pets are expected to uplift the market growth,” says the report.
To capitalise on this lucrative market, Stockholm-based Pet Media Group has announced the acquisition of the Netherlands’ largest pet dog classifieds site, Puppyplaats.nl. However, the financial details were not disclosed. This acquisition follows the Swedish startup’s recent acquisitions of leading Italian pet marketplaces AnnunciAnimali.it and AllevamentiRazze.it, in February 2021.
Founded in 2013, Puppyplaats.nl has been the go-to online destination for Dutch individuals and breeders alike to find puppies and dogs or suitable studs. For the Dutch company, 85 per cent of its traffic comes from the Netherlands and 15 per cent from Belgium.
Why this acquisition?
The Swedish company aims to cement its position across the European pet market and aid in the improvement of international animal welfare policies.
Talking about the acquisition to Silicon Canals, Axel Lagercrantz, CEO and Co-founder of Pet Media Group says, “The acquisition cements Pet Media Groups position as the leader of digitalization of the pet vertical in Europe. Pet Media Group will roll out its tech platform and implement its safety features and focus on animal welfare for the benefit of its Dutch users to build on Puppyplaats position as the safest environment to rehome pets in the Netherlands.”
Post the acquisition, Puppyplats will continue to operate as an independent entity.
“On the other hand, the website will benefit from a shared technology platform as the rest of Pet Media Group’s sites and the 40+ strong team across Business Development, Marketing, and Trust & Safety,” adds Lagercrantz.
Further, Pet Media Group will significantly invest in Puppyplaats.nl, building its products and services, and rolling out the Pet Media Group technology platform to the Dutch market, says the release.
Erwin van Rijn, founder of Puppyplaats.nl, on the acquisition says, “Pet Media Group has a large team of specialists and the capacity to further develop the platform at a rapid pace through new technologies to increase the safety and convenience for selling or buying a puppy in the Netherlands. It is not feasible for Puppyplaats to build the same capabilities as Pet Media Group with the limited resources that we have access to and as such I view their resources as a large benefit.”
Rijn’s next project
Erwin van Rijn tendered his resignation from the board of members and confirmed that he won’t be a part of Puppyplaats.nl anymore. He also notes, “I fully trust they have the qualities and capabilities to run the platform. If they are curious about my feedback or would like to receive my insight into certain developments, I am happy to share them.”
Rijn tells Silicon Canals that he is planning to set up an e-commerce platform related to pets called Bordenwinkel.nl. “Furthermore, in my spare time, I am always very interested in brainstorming about possible new projects. Often these ideas are platform-oriented or related to the printing world,” concludes Rijn.
How it all started?
Axel Lagercrantz founded Pet Media Group (PMG) with his longtime university friend Eyass Shakrah in 2018.
He says, “In 2018 we set about to digitalise the equestrian market, a traditionally offline and conservative space, by acquiring the dominant equestrian marketplace in the Nordics, Hästnet, together with a group of investors. On the back of the success seen in the Nordics by making rehoming animals easier, safer, and more convenient for all parties, we’ve widened our scope and are now looking to do the same on a global scale across all pet verticals.”
At present, the company operates pet and equestrian marketplaces across Europe, with offices in Stockholm and the United Kingdom. Right now, the company employs around 46 people and plans to hire aggressively across all departments.
In 2020, Pet Media Group introduced several new innovative solutions to facilitate a safe rehoming process, such as digital contract signing, automatic fraud detection, two-step verification of IDs, and the first-ever safe deposit functionality to be introduced for a pet marketplace in Europe.
According to Lagercrantz, PMG serves more than 10 million prospective pet owners every month and rehomes more than 1 million animals per year.
Forecasting €8M in revenue
Pet Media Group’s marketplaces are free for both the sellers and buyers. The company generates revenue through value-added services like Safe Deposit Service where Pet Media Group charges a commission to facilitate the transaction.
“This is the first safe deposit service for pets of its kind in Europe and safeguards that buyers can reserve a pet with the peace of mind that they will not lose their deposit if the seller fails to fulfill their promise or if they change their mind,” notes Lagercrantz.
The Stockholm-based company is forecasting revenue of €8M for the current financial year, which, according to him, represents an increase of >100 over the previous year.
Profitable from start
To date, the company has raised $12M (approx €9.8M) in funding from various investors including Verdane, the founders of Avito, Back in Black, and 183 Invest, along with several renowned private investors such as Per Brillioth (CEO of VNV Global).
“Pet Media Group is and has been profitable since our first year, as it’s always been a part of our philosophy to be able to stand on our own two feet as early as possible,” confirms Lagercrantz.
Rise in pet ownership
According to Lagercrantz, the pandemic period has seen a solid rise in pet ownership with growth in the number of users rising to >400 prospective buyers for each pet.
“A challenge that the pandemic has brought is that it is more difficult for prospective pet owners to meet with breeders to view the pet before purchase, this has also accelerated the digitalisation of the pet industry where more people than ever before consider finding their pet online,” he tells Silicon Canals.
Ever since the inception of the company, PMG’s mission is to increase trust, safety, and convenience when selling or buying a pet through technology and service. On top of that, the Swedish company aims to be the leading destination globally for both prospective and current pet owners.
Lagercrantz concludes “The strategy is the same for all geographies, including the Netherlands, i.e. to widen our service offering to include those services that pet owners need. Rehoming a pet is a complicated process with lots of things to bear in mind for a buyer and Pet Media Group wants to facilitate the entire journey. From finding your dream pet to insuring your pet and making sure that it receives proper care. We want to drive the same change to the pet vertical that AirBnB and Uber have done to the leisure and mobility verticals.”