Tailwise, a platform that matches dog buyers and verified breeders, has raised £200,000 in early-stage investment from angel investors and the Jenson SEIS and EIS Fund.
The London-based startup allows dog seekers to set up a profile, detailing their homelife, lifestyle, dog preferences, and why they want a dog. The company then uses its ‘Dog Seeker’ profile to match them with a safe and fully verified breeder.
The aim of the service is to prevent people buying from puppy farms. This funding will be used to to further develop the product and grow the core team in London.
Tailwise was launched in 2017 by CEO Sam Worthy and COO Dan Baird, after the two were exposed to some industry horrors.
Worthy commented: “I grew up around dogs, so a couple of years ago I looked into getting my own. The one I saw was very likely from a puppy farm and I realised that the dog buying process was completely outdated and fraught with risks. It became clear that there is a stark split between breeders who care and want the very best for their litters and unscrupulous people who exploit the emotive nature of buying a puppy.
“At Tailwise we’re working with great breeders, using tech to radically improve animal welfare and provide transparency for the most important moment in a dog owners life – finding the right dog,” he added.
How to successfully lead a team of engineers
On Tailwise, dog breeders and seekers go through a range of identity verification checks, and all puppies are vet checked before they go to their new homes.
According to 2016 research by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), between 770,000 and 1,500,000 puppies are purchased every year in the UK.
A BBC investigation also revealed that round 20% of puppies bought on the internet will die within six months. Whilst going directly with a breeder can take months and there’s no guarantee the breeder is genuine, safe or responsible.
COO Baird said: “Having worked in the dog world for a number of years, I’m always surprised by how little people seem to consider if a particular breed matches their lifestyle. With the rise of social media and digital influencers, people are choosing dogs based mainly on cuteness and Instagram-appeal and less on lifestyle fit.
Top tips for growing your small business
“Lady Gaga’s dog Asia is cute but that doesn’t mean it’s the right dog for you. The team at Tailwise is working hard to champion responsible dog ownership and that starts with us matching the best dog to your lifestyle,” he added.
Speaking on the investment into Tailwise, John Lees, COO at Jensons Solutions, concluded: “Tailwise has a strong and passionate leadership team focused on ensuring the most trusted dog breeders are introduced to responsible buyers. With over 9.5 million pet dogs in the UK, our investment is already revenue generating and the Tailwise team has a robust growth plan for the future.”
Tailwise stays involved in the process to ensure the dog is safe in the new home, and then allows the breeders and new owners to stay in touch with each other afterwards.