London-based KatKin today announced a seed round led by Octopus Ventures, taking the total amount raised by the company to almost €5 million, to help cats live healthier, happier lives with a new cat food that meets cats’ biological needs.
Siblings Brett and Nikki O’Farrell started KatKin in 2019 after realising that the pet food options available on the market didn’t provide cats with the nutrition they needed to live a healthy life. For example, for cat food to be labelled ‘with chicken’ it only needs to contain 4% chicken (according to FEDIAF’s Code of Good Labelling Practice for Pet Food). In contrast, KatKin aims to create the healthiest cat food in the world, with a 95% fresh, real meat content and zero fillers and preservatives.
KatKin states that their food replicates what cats have evolved to eat in the wild – a high protein, high moisture, and grain-free diet. Plus, the start-up uses a proprietary algorithm that enables personalisation of food for an individual cat based on a range of inputs, including, weight, size, age, activity level. This means the vet-formulated meals are personalised to the dietary needs of each individual cat in a household.
Developing an affordable, personalised and species appropriate diet for cats has been a challenge for the industry because fresh meat is both expensive and difficult to store. By shipping frozen meals directly to the customer, KatKin is able to lower the cost of the meal as well as remove the need for the preservatives or additives found in traditional wet cat food. Natural food is often thought of as being more expensive and while KatKin has the highest meat content across all its recipes in the industry, the start-up explains their food is priced 25% lower than existing premium cat food brands.
KatKin’s early product has produced results that show the need for better cat food: 80% of cat parents reported their cat was more playful and happier, 75% reported an improvement in their coats, and 65% reported improved digestion. More than 50% of cats in the UK are also reported to be overweight or obese, something KatKin’s tailored meals are designed to tackle.
Dr Justin Shmalberg, Chief Veterinary Officer of KatKin, said, “Fresh food is truly an innovative approach to feeding cats, but the aim is simple: to provide quality ingredients from top tier suppliers and a high meat content tailored to the unique nutritional needs of cats. It has previously been difficult to replicate a cat’s natural diet whilst optimizing for mass-production and long shelf life which has been the conventional approach. However, by focusing on freshly-cooked ingredients, rather than the method of production and storage, KatKin has identified the dietary balance in custom-portioned amounts that supports cats’ nutritional needs, without needing to add processing agents or artificial preservatives which lack nutritive value.”
The investment will support the KatKin’s plans to make healthy fresh cat food more accessible by expanding across the UK. It will also allow the company to develop its personalised products to ensure that every cat receives their exact nutritional requirements.
Brett O’Farrell, co-founder and CEO commented, “As a cat parents ourselves, Nikki and I had experienced first-hand not being able to give them the fresh, healthy and species-appropriate food they deserved – and that feeling of being underserved as cat owners by big industry. At KatKin we’re building a world class team that puts cats first and are on a mission to improve the lives of cats, as well as their owners. We’re grateful for the early support of our angel investors and from Rebecca at Octopus, which enables us to continue investing in our product and customer experience and to further extend our reach in the UK.”
Nikki O’Farrell, co-founder and CXO, added, “We’ve had phenomenal feedback from our customers to date, which has helped make KatKin the highest rated cat food brand on Trustpilot. We’re helping to educate cat parents about the importance of food and nutrition on their cats’ health, and also to address common dietary issues, such as obesity and allergies. With fresh, personalised and individual meals costing less than other premium brands, we’re ensuring cats can live healthy, happy lives.”
Rebecca Hunt, Investor at Octopus Ventures said, “The pet food market is enormous and continues to grow, as pets increasingly become part of the family. This is particularly true among young professionals, who are delaying having children, and so have a willingness and desire to spend on their feline companions. Yet the market remains dominated by incumbent players who are not innovating and our experience backing Tails.com tells us there is a big opportunity for a brand like KatKin, which puts personalisation and health of the cat at the heart of its product. Brett and Nikki have already demonstrated exceptional focus on execution, with customers that love the service, and we look forward to supporting KatKin’s growth.”