Startup that makes organic pet supplements to expand after raising $6M – The Business Journals

Native Pet, a St. Louis-based pet nutrition startup that makes and sells all-natural pet supplements for dogs, plans to add to its team and expand distribution of its products after raising $6 million from investors.
CAVU Venture Partners, which has offices in Santa Monica and New York, led Native Pet’s Series A funding round. Other investors in the deal include Companion Fund, which is affiliated with Mars Petcare, and San Francisco-based Selva Ventures. The Series A financing brings Native Pet’s total capital raised since its founding to just over $8 million.
Founded in 2017 by longtime friends Dan Schaefer and Pat Barron, Native Pet has developed a range of all-natural and limited-ingredient pet supplements. The startup’s origins stem from Schaefer’s struggle to find healthy, all-natural food options for his own dog.
“With the significant rise in pet ownership over the past two years, today’s pet parents are increasingly focused on the health and well-being of their beloved animals,” said Brett Thomas, co-founder of CAVU. “Native Pet is answering the call of modern-day pet owners who are looking beyond traditional kibble to enhance their pet’s well-being with highly nutritious and differentiated products. We are thrilled to partner with Dan and Pat as they reimagine pet nutrition to improve the health and happiness of pets everywhere.”
Schaefer said Native Pet’s fresh funding comes as it has reached an “inflection point” that has been influenced by its own expansion as well as the growth of the pet supplement sector. The pet supplement market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 5.8% between 2021 and 2028 to become a $2.32 billion segment, according to a report from Grand View Research.
“From a business standpoint, we’re in a very good position to look to scale into new sales channels,” Schaefer said. “We felt like it was the right time to take on some outside money so that we could be aggressive in the category.”
Native Pet began selling its products online and in recent years has expanded where its products can be purchased. It sells its products on the e-commerce platforms of several major retailers, including Amazon, Boxed, Chewy, Walmart and Thrive Market. It has also expanded into brick-and-mortar sales, inking a deal to sell its products at more than 300 Target stores nationwide.
Since the St. Louis startup’s launch, Schaefer said it has emphasized research and development efforts to build out its product line. It now plans to use its $6 million Series A funding to better market itself and further penetrate the market with its products.
“What this money is going to allow us to do is really push our storytelling, our brand awareness and get Native Pet out into the market in a way that we haven’t been able to before,” Schaefer said.
Native Pet believes its lead investor, CAVU, will be key to its strategy to enhance its branding initiatives. The venture capital firm focuses on working with consumer brands.
“That’s the reason why we picked CAVU to lead this round. There was a lot of interest, but we just felt like the CAVU was the perfect partner for us because of their skill set in consumer (brands) and their ability to scale brands,” Schaefer said.
While Native Pet intends to expand its marketing efforts, Schaefer said it will continue to place focus on product development and expects to release new products this year. In 2021, it expanded its product line with the launch of air-dried chews.
In addition to expanding its product line and distribution, Native Pet expects to use its funding to expand its headcount, which currently includes 10 employees. The company, which is headquartered in Downtown West, plans to add between three to six more employees this year, Schaefer said.
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