Dogs have been the most loyal friends of mankind since generations. They have given us their absolute all. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring to our monotonous lives and care about us more than others.
An interview of Rana Atheya, the CEO of the pet care DogSpot was conducted by our team. Through his words we get an insight of his childhood love for dogs helped him to create a room for all the dog lovers.
1. Tell us about your background before DogSpot. Share with us briefly about your entrepreneurial journey and inception story of DogSpot.
Being a dog lover, I always wanted to do something related to dogs and that was the idea of how DogSpot came across. It was started as a hobby while I was working in a corporate. It later transformed into a portal offering content and networking platform for dog owners and lovers, which eventually became an e-commerce portal in 2011. Every dog lover wants to know more and be further educated about their pets, but there are limited websites offering them information on what they need. We provide all the information & valuable content related to pets.
Now, we are the largest retailer in dog products including dog food, puppy care, collars and leashes, toys, grooming and training products, among others. The pet care industry in India is estimated to grow at a tremendous pace and I am glad to be associated with it.
2. What is DogSpot all about? Tell us in detail about the service offering and the target segment? Also enlighten us on your competition in the market? What is it that sets you apart from your competition?
DogSpot is a destination for all pet lovers. We have content, community and catalog for all pet lovers.
There is no competition.
3. What is the business model of DogSpot? Can you briefly summarize the growth achieved in both volume and value from the day1 till now?
We have shifted our focus from being a marketplace company to be a private label e-commerce company in last few months. DogSpot offers all products related to pets, be it dog food, toys or grooming and training products. We are the largest community of pet lovers and pet parents and we also provide content related to pet keeping. We also help users to identify which dog will be suitable for their home with our product WAGpedia.
4. How has been your beginner’s journey? What were the challenges faced in setting up and scaling up your enterprise? Any hurdle that you faced or still facing?
Every day is a challenge for a startup but we have been able to slowly and steadily create a name for ourselves in the pet care industry. We faced couple of challenges in developing DogSpot.
The main challenges were developing vendors, making customers educated, developing valuable content and hiring the right candidates. E-commerce market is still evolving and growing as more and more people go online to buy products. It was an unorganized segment. It was a challenge working with unorganized players. We had to organize it and develop lot of content. Some players have major setbacks and they are not open for learning or evolving. In such cases, we try and build those capabilities within our systems.
Those were initial challenges. Now we have a very good and supportive team who take care of all these things, especially, the supply side, managing and developing new vendors and new products. The Supply side is more challenging, but now we have mastered in that.
5. Can you tell us about your other founders/core team, their background and rich experience?
In 2011, I teamed up with my friend Ankur Tandon, who joined us as Co-founder and heads operations and sourcing, and Shailesh Visen, heads technology.
6. How is DogSpot funded? Any early stage money/seed stage experience that you would like to share with us?
DogSpot was seed funded by Vikas Saxena, Global CEO of Nimbuzz, Vaibhav Gadodia and others. We also secured funding by India Quotient in 2013. We have raised recent round of funding in January 2016 from Ratan Tata, K Ganesh, Ronnie Screwvala, and few other investors.
7. Any other areas or initiatives that you plan to venture into in future?
Currently, we have 300 products under the private label and plan to have 1,500 products in a year. The focus will be on repeat buying categories, including treats, biscuits and shampoos. After launching an economical range earlier, we are now focusing on a premium range by entering into exclusive partnerships with brands such as Petmate for travel kennels, FURminator for specialised grooming products, and Spotty for in-home toilet training products.
8. Any experience or advice you would like to share with soon to be start-up founders out there?
Startups do and learn things and have no resources and time to learn and do. This is why startups are different. We can be very quick in experimenting and closing down what is not working. Plus, these companies have money and time. When it’s about saving time, it is better to execute fast. Risk is there but we need to look at risk as a positive word more than a negative one.
Driving teams with Do and Learn has been a good way to faster execution at DogSpot.in. Execution is one of the biggest ingredients in the process of building something valuable.
Indiaspark wishes Dogspot all the success and good luck in their journey. On behalf of all the dog lovers, we would like to congratulate the founders of DogSpot for carrying forward such a noble cause for all the dogs in our country.