With its sights set on causing irritation to dominant market players, new subscription-based pet wellbeing brand ITCH launches today, with the aim of disrupting the pet care market.
Co-founded by direct-to-consumer entrepreneur James Cox (co-founder of sleep tech firm Simba), pet supplies retailers Jonny and Adam Gould (co-founders of Monster Pet Supplies) and marketer Charlotte Harper (former CMO of Zoopla and UK MD Match.com), ITCH is initially launching with a flea care subscription service.
Developed in collaboration with world-class veterinary experts, in response to the increasing demand for better-personalised pet care, ITCH’s tailored monthly flea subscription service makes preventing infestation and treating pets much quicker, cheaper and more convenient for busy owners than buying over the counter.
The brand has initially raised circa £5m investment from Seedcamp, Nigel Wray and Cox’s YYX Capital amongst others, with a further injection of £10m planned for Q4 2019 to support the brand roll out to the US in Q1 2020.
ITCH will also offer range extensions into the wider pet care market with innovative personalised calming, skin, joint and dental products. There are also plans to use curated and user-generated content to create an online platform and community, in collaboration with its team of veterinary experts, designed to answer the plethora of wellbeing questions pet owners face on a daily basis.
With research by Mintel showing that the UK pet care market is set to reach £2.1bn by 2023 and the UK’s flea market estimated to be worth £370m by 2021, ITCH is in the purr-fect position to take a sizeable bite out of the market.
Co-founder and executive chairman of ITCH, James Cox, said: “The popularity of direct-to-consumer goods brands offering products continues to grow at pace. We’ve seen everything from healthcare, financial services, travel, transport and electronic goods all race to innovate so that they can directly engage with customers using social, mobile, and digital channels and devices. It’s now time for the buoyant pet care market to innovate”.
Jonny Gould, co-founder and CEO of ITCH, said: “The pet market has traditionally relied on the middle man to provide the services needed to care for pets. ITCH has been created to respond to a gap in the market and give pet care some real personality by providing pet owners with direct access to the best wellbeing products, personalised just for their pets’ needs, along with easy to access consumer advice.
“We have over a decade of experience in the pet industry, and are always looking at ways we can improve the lives of pets, and their owners. In the coming months, we’ll be launching the ITCH Care platform which will harness the power of data to connect pet owners to our network of world-class content, both curated and user-generated. This will provide pet owners with access to the answers they need to the wide range of wellbeing questions which can arise on a daily basis.”
James Cox added: “Historically, pet owners have had little guidance, beyond going to the vet, when it comes to day-to-day questions that arise when it comes to pet wellbeing.
"ITCH's AI-powered platform has been built to simplify this process, providing pet owners globally, access to easy-to-digest content at the tip of their fingers.
"We code from the ground up, making it possible to react to any therapeutic requirement, tailor advice and integrate with third-party tools to further enhance the experience. We’re not replacing vets - quite the opposite, we work with them - with the aim of separating the therapeutic care market from the critical care market."
From July 2019, busy pet owners will receive tailored flea treatment kits for their pets, through their letterbox together with a reminder delivered via the ITCH app when it’s time to administer treatment.
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