NEW YORK — Direct-to-consumer cat food company, Smalls, announced Aug. 5 the closing of a $9 million funding round led by Left Lane Capital. The company has raised $12 million in total Series A funding, including previous investments from Founder Collective and Companion Fund.
According to the company, this is the largest Series A funding round for a cat food startup in the United States. The company began seeking funding in March, right as the COVID-19 pandemic began, meaning the funding round was conducted entirely online through Zoom.
“Smalls is bringing the much needed fresh food revolution that’s taken the dog industry by storm and tailoring it for cats and cat people,” said Matt Michaelson, co-founder and chief executive officer of Smalls. “For the first time, felines are being put first.”
Smalls plans to use this funding to further develop its product portfolio, placing emphasis on creating innovative formulas for “particular palettes,” as well as developing functional health supplements and cat accessories.
“Since COVID-19 changed our lives and economy, there continue to be many unknowns,” Michaelson said. “But, if anything is certain, cats need to eat. Our DTC [direct-to-consumer] model allows us to safely deliver exactly what customers need, directly to their doorstep, and our business is seeing tremendous growth as a result.”
The company, founded in 2017, offers customizable cat diets in a variety of formats, available through its online e-commerce platform and shipped directly to consumers. According to the company, online cat food delivery sales grew 162% from March 2019 to March 2020.
“While we've seen a proliferation of highly successful healthy dog food brands, the cat food market has remained completely ignored,” said Jason Fiedler, partner at Left Lane Capital. “Smalls has successfully developed a brand, product mix, supply chain, and customer experience that is specifically optimized for cats that no one else has.”
Fiedler was also one of the first investors in The Farmer’s Dog, a direct-to-consumer, customized dog food company.
Smalls hopes to bring more attention and innovation to cat food products, reporting approximately 95% of venture capital funding is provided to dog-focused companies even though there are an estimated 5 million more cats living in the United States.
The company also plans to expand its team and is actively looking for a director of product management, acquisition manager and product designer.
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