The dogs, cats, birds and fish that grace the pages of Pet Circle have today been joined by a more mythical, elusive animal as the Sydney-based company achieves unicorn status following a $125 million Series C raise.
Founded in 2011, Pet Circle has grown to become Australia's largest online specialty pet company and the third largest globally, with an integrated pet care platform that includes subscription, VetChat and telehealth services, offering more than 10,000 products.
The funding round was led by Prysm Capital and TDM Growth Partners, with other participants including new investor Baillie Gifford and existing investor AirTree Ventures.
The funding will be used to accelerate Pet Circle’s growth as it continues to develop its software platform and expands its warehouse footprint, dedicated fleet, and product range.
Pet Circle has experienced significant growth in the past 18 months, with Australian pet parents spending over $1,000 per year, increasingly online. Over the past year, Pet Circle has seen a 50 percent increase in puppy and kitten food sales across its specialty channel alone.
The $15 billion pet supplies market continues to be well placed for long-term growth as pet owners seek better access to quality advice, quality products and a better way to shop for their pets.
"We are on a mission to reinvent the experience of pet ownership, by building an integrated platform that connects our customers to 24/7 vet advice and offers the largest and highest quality range of pet products and services in Australia," says Pet Circle co-founder and CEO Michael Frizell.
"At Pet Circle we put the pet customer at the centre of everything we do in order to offer Australians the best pet experience in the world."
Prysm Capital co-founder and managing partner Jay Park says the foundation that Frizell and his team have built positions Pet Circle as an emerging winner, redefining the retail experience for pet parents across Australia.
"The humanisation of pets is a significant macro tailwind impacting markets globally, and we look forward to partnering with Pet Circle on their next chapter of accelerated growth," Park says.
"Mike and the Pet Circle team are the quiet achievers in Australia's startup scene," adds AirTree Ventures co-founder and partner Craig Blair.
"It's been a privilege to work with them from day one as they've been boots on the ground, innovating the e-commerce experience for pet owners."
Ben Gisz of TDM Growth Partners says Pet Circle is changing the way Australian pet owners care for their pets.
"We’re excited to partner with Pet Circle in this next stage of growth as they continue to deliver on their strategy to be the most innovative and leading retailer of pet supplies in the country."
Pet Circle has scale and a first-mover advantage, but it is also in a highly competitive space with the emergence in recent years of fast-growing specialty pet businesses that also place an emphasis on digital innovation, such as ASX-listed Mad Paws (ASX: MPA) which raised $12 million in its March IPO, Lyka Pet Food which undertook a $6.5 million Series A round in June, and PetCloud which equity crowdfunded $2 million in May.
Education technology company Go1 also became a unicorn this year, while electric vehicle charging station manufacturer Tritium is gearing up for the same status pending a special purchase acquisition company (SPAC) merger on the NASDAQ this southern hemisphere summer.
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