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Bark & Co Tech Business Driven by the Dogs

Bark & Co acquired $15 mil­lion in Series B fund­ing and is show­ing the world just how pow­er­ful dogs can be in the tech world. Dri­ven large­ly by the suc­cess of the com­pa­ny’s Bark­Box, a sub­scrip­tion ser­vice which deliv­ers dog treats to the homes of mem­bers, Bark & Co. has been cash-flow pos­i­tive since the fourth quar­ter of 2013.

An inside round con­sist­ing of Vast Ven­tures, Ber­tels­mann Dig­i­tal Media Invest­ments, Slow Ven­tures, Daher Cap­i­tal, CAA, Lerer Ven­tures, RRE, Box­Group and raised


$10 mil­lion for the dog-dri­ven com­pa­ny, while anoth­er five was financed from City Nation­al Bank.

Attract­ing Pet Owners

The Bark­box  busi­ness mod­el is built around e‑commerce and online sub­scrip­tion plans, offer­ing users a box of dog treats and toys each month whose con­tents are depen­dent upon the size of the dog and the sub­scrip­tion tier of the user. Sub­scriber reten­tion is well over 90%, and 75% of users will com­mit to a longer-term plan after joining.

Bark & Co. is also unique­ly placed to cash in on ris­ing fears among pet own­ers of dog treats sourced from Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers, as high­ly-pub­li­cized pet deaths attrib­uted to Chi­nese treats gain more media atten­tion. Bark­Box treats and chews are sourced from areas North Amer­i­can pet own­ers trust, dri­ving more sub­scrip­tions and gen­er­at­ing greater inter­est. Says co-founder Matt Meek­er of his com­pa­ny’s quick expan­sion, “We’re the new gen­er­a­tion pet brand. We’re more dig­i­tal. Our gen­er­a­tion treats our dogs dif­fer­ent­ly. The big pet com­pa­nies don’t con­nect to us at all, and they’re not inno­v­a­tive.” High sub­scrip­tion reten­tion num­bers and upgrade rates have spurred Bark & Co. to expand oper­a­tions, cre­at­ing an on-demand vet care ser­vice which makes house calls. Cur­rent­ly, oper­a­tions for Bark­Care are restrict­ed to New York and the San Fran­cis­co Bay area, but vis­its in the sec­ond quar­ter dou­bled over those in the first quarter.

Tech Jobs Dri­ven by Dog Owners

The Bark­Post, a con­tent por­tal which pro­vides lead gen for Bark­Box and Bark­Care, has grown from a mil­lion vis­its in Decem­ber of 2013 to more than 10 mil­lion in June of 2014. The Bark­Post staff was com­prised of one mem­ber in 2013, and has expand­ed to include three new mem­bers in the first half of 2013. The addi­tion of a mobile app, Bark­Bud­dy, which pairs prospec­tive own­ers with shel­ter dogs in their area through inte­gra­tion with Pet Find­er, fur­ther cements the com­pa­ny’s suc­cess among dog own­ers. For Bark & Co., dogs are cer­tain­ly dri­ving expan­sion and rev­enue in the tech sector.

Pho­to cour­tesy of Flickr

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