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Giving Cats Some Love: Pet Food Startup Smalls Nabs $9M Series A For Cat Food

Smalls, the direct-to-consumer pet food company for cats, received a cash infusion of $9 million in Series A funding to expand its product offerings.

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Left Lane Capital led the round, with participation from existing investors Founder Collective and Companion Fund. The new investment gives New York-based Smalls a total raise of $12 million since its inception in 2017. That includes a small seed round in 2018 and a seed extension in 2019, Matt Michaelson told Crunchbase News.

Michaelson and Calvin Bohn started Smalls as a cat-first brand focusing on human-grade, fresh food. In the U.S. pet owners have 94 million cats versus approximately 89 million dogs.

Smalls founders Calvin Bohn and Matt Michaelson

Further, about 95 percent of venture capital funding in the pet food industry goes to dog-centric companies, Michaelson said.

Those statistics attracted Left Lane Partner Jason Fiedler, one of the first investors in The Farmer’s Dog.

“While we’ve seen a proliferation of highly successful healthy dog food brands, the cat food market has remained completely ignored,” Fiedler said in a written statement. “Smalls has successfully developed a brand, product mix, supply chain, and customer experience that is specifically optimized for cats that no one else has.”

The new funding will enable Smalls to grow its business, particularly around expanding food selection, such as formula innovation and new recipes for cats, which are naturally picky eaters, Michaelson said. It will also be used to help bring in new customers and subscribers.

Next up, Smalls will continue acquiring new customers and making new hires. The company currently has an employee base of 18, and Michaelson expects that number to grow to 25 by next year.

Year over year, the company has experienced four times revenue growth and has several thousand subscribers. Its growth is credited in part to the overall online cat food delivery market experiencing a 162 percent year-over-year increase from March 2019 to March 2020, Michaelson said.

“Our growth has been pushed a bit by COVID-19,” he added. “On one level, more people are looking for food that shows up at their door. On another, pet adoption is exploding, and as people spend more time with cats, they are thinking about their health and wellness.”

Photo courtesy of Smalls
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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