Plant-based dog food brand PawCo secures $2m in funding

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Sally Anscombe
© GettyImages/Sally Anscombe

Related tags dog PawCo plant-based

PawCo Foods, a pioneering plant-based pet nutrition brand, has successfully secured $2 million in seed funding, spearheaded by Elevate Ventures, and featuring notable angel investors like Arash Ferdowsi, co-founder of Dropbox.

The infusion of capital is earmarked for scaling operations, notably the establishment of a second production facility in Indiana, complementing its existing base in California.

Dr Mahsa Vazin, PawCo's founder and CEO, formerly a scientist at Impossible Foods, highlights the strategic significance of the Midwest location.

“By placing this new facility in Indiana, PawCo aims to enhance its shipping capabilities, ensuring quicker product delivery to a broader consumer base across the US.”

The Midwest facility enables geographical advantage. Being within a 24-hour reach of 70% of the US population, it will mean the company can efficiently deliver fresh frozen products nationwide within a single day, she adds.

The additional funding will fuel further expansion, including collaborations with co-manufacturers, increased investment in research and development, and the introduction of new product categories such as toppers, treats, and supplements, Dr Vazin tells FeedNavigator. 

PawCo distinguishes itself by producing plant-based meals, aligned with its commitment to reducing reliance on animal farming and mitigating the environmental impact of the pet food industry. Dr Vazin claims the company's approach, utilizing a formula devoid of animal products, inherently decreases the carbon footprint associated with pet food manufacturing.

Leveraging AI for nutrition optimization and production efficiency ​ 

The incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) in PawCo's processes has been a key factor in their success, she maintains.

Leveraging AI for nutrition optimization and palatability enhancement, PawCo developed GreenMeat, a fresh, plant-based meat for dogs serving as the foundation for its diverse product range. AI enables predictive modeling with real-life data, streamlining product development and allowing for rapid market introduction, according to the founder.

PawCo aspires to solidify its position as a leader in plant-based pet nutrition, says the CEO. The company was involved in a paper​, recently published ​in a peer-reviewed journal, that outlines the pivotal role that AI can play in advancing the field.

While currently following a direct-to-consumer (D2C) distribution model, PawCo plans to explore B2B partnerships, extending the reach of its flagship product, GreenMeat, as the base for other pet food companies' offerings.

Debunking myths

The company's target audience includes vegan dog owners, environmentally conscious pet parents, and those with dogs that are sensitive to animal-based products. Addressing challenges in shifting perceptions, Dr Vazin stresses the importance of educating the public on dogs thriving on plant-based diets, and dispelling the "misconception" that dogs are obligate carnivores.

PawCo plans to harness its growing community, collaborating with partners and influencers to raise awareness about dog health and sustainability, eventually fostering a deeper understanding of plant-based pet nutrition, says the CEO.

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