Professional Services to Pet-Tech Start Up
This article appears in our Q1 2022 issue of Finance Transformation Magazine. To download the issue, click here
Josh Anderson, co-founder of tech start-up Perro, explains what it's like to go from idea, to concept, through to raising investment, as he and co-founder Adam Cassidy look to grow and disrupt the pet-tech sector.
An accountant, a User Experience designer and 350 pet parents… while this might sound like the start of a bad joke, these were the foundations of what has turned into Perro - the world's first pet wearable that focuses on improving the wellbeing of both humans and their furry friends.
Over a 15-month period, Adam and I have left full time employment in the corporate world, developed a new brand, a new product, we've been awarded a prestigious grant from a flagship research and innovation body, and are now in the midst of our first fundraise. This is an insight into our journey so far.
Making The Entrepreneurial Leap
My co-founder and I met 9 years ago at Procter & Gamble and have since had successful careers at Deloitte, Ryecroft Glenton and Anderson Anderson Brown, with me qualifying as a User Experience (UX) practitioner with the Nielsen Norman Group and Adam becoming an ACCA Chartered Accountant.
Having both maximised our experience of professional life to date, and having recently hit the 30 milestone, we knew this was the time to do something entrepreneurial, creative and to achieve our dream of becoming founders in an industry close to our hearts.
Following 15 months of self-funded R&D/product development - including user research and testing with hundreds of pet parents, we took the plunge and left full-time employment in 2021 to focus on the venture. Forget buying my first house or moving to a new country - this tops all my life experiences as the scariest thing I have ever done!
Our key motivation was that we had identified a true problem to solve
through the product and an un-met consumer need. Perro will be the first
platform developed to strengthen the animal-human bond, promoting greater
dog wellbeing, as well as improved physical and mental health of pet
parents and will be part of a
pet-tech market that will reach a $20bn valuation by 2027. We now had a mission to achieve - a healthier, happier you means a healthier, happier dog.
The Start Up Journey So Far
Bringing a wealth of experience across UX, Product Management, Finance and M&A from our corporate careers - and an overwhelming passion for dogs, of course! - we have hit the ground running in a fast-paced start-up environment.
This has involved designing the app and platform, taking the wearable device from cardboard and foam models to developing works-like and looks-like prototypes. All while continually engaging and testing with end users - Perro's future consumers. Extensive experience in client-based work has allowed us to truly understand the problems that pet parents face and create a compelling solution off the back of this.
By Autumn 2021, we had achieved our self-funding milestones, while also receiving considerable traction in both consumer and investor networks.
Soon after, we were notified that we had been successfully awarded a sizeable grant from the flagship funding programme for UK Research & Innovation. This indicated a strong GO decision to move forward into our first funding round - generally termed the 'pre-seed' investment round.
Funding - The Proverbial Start Up Challenge
Angel investors, Venture Capitalists, grants, crowdfunding, bootstrapping, debt and equity. These are terms and aspects of financing which all starts-ups discuss if they require investment to grow and scale their business.
A typical funding lifecycle for a tech start-up involves raising a 'pre-seed' round to build a minimum viable product (MVP) and get some early traction. A 'seed' round may then be required to monetise that MVP and provide working capital coverage. However, once they've figured out the right product, consumer segments and they're ready to scale, management teams often raise a Series A.
The pre-seed round provides a business such as Perro with the opportunity for consumer validation via crowdfunding mechanisms and provides greater opportunity for high risk / high reward investment opportunities for a founder's extended network.
Early-stage investment opportunities can often provide investors with tax incentives such as the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). This government backed scheme allows investors to deduct 50% of the invested amount from their income tax bill, as well as benefitting from capital gains tax and loss relief.
The combination of these incentives significantly reduces an investor's exposure to risk, therefore creating an attractive investment opportunity.
At Perro, we made the decision to time-box this investment round and with it closing in Q1 2022, we have made great progress towards our funding target. Most importantly, the investor pool consists of new and experienced pet parents, as well as individuals who can open up innovative routes to market.
Successfully closing the pre-seed round will allow us to complete product development and take our team all the way to the point of commercial launch.
Risk, money, time, continual learning and fear of failure, are just some of
the challenges we have faced as founders to date, although the excitement
and passion for the venture being launched has far outweighed such
At Perro, we are at an exhilarating stage of the journey, and whilst there will be no doubt many challenges along the way, it's accepted to be all part of the fun of the start-up world.
Find out more
If you would like to know more about the exciting and high-growth investment opportunity that Perro presents, reach out to Josh at email@example.com
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About the authors: Josh Anderson and Adam Cassidy
Josh has extensive experience across UX, Product Management, UI/Service Design and Innovation, both from his time at Procter & Gamble and as a Management Consultant at Deloitte. He has helped clients adapt and evolve into emerging, digital business models and is now ready to create his own chapter.
Adam is a Chartered Accountant, having qualified at Procter & Gamble before moving into corporate finance at RG and AAB where he advised shareholders, businesses and private equity firms on a range of matters, from buy side and sell side M&A, fundraising, due diligence, financial modelling and valuations.