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VMG Partners puts $10M behind human-grade dog food

A jar of pet food brand Maev's bone broth cubes.

Photo: Maev

Maev, an Austin, Texas-based human-grade raw dog food brand, raised a $10 million Series A round led by VMG Partners, CEO Katie Spies tells Axios.

Why it matters: Both M&A activity and investment in the pet space remain strong this year.

Details: Though the round was oversubscribed at $20 million, Maev stuck to its plan of limiting it to $10 million, Spies says.

  • BFG Partners, Willow Growth Partners, Springdale Ventures, DX Ventures, Contrary Capital, Good Friends and 1st Course Capital also participated.
  • It brings the total raised to $19 million, all growth equity, which includes $9 million in pre-seed and seed funding, she says.
  • While she declined to comment on valuation, Spies says that the founders of the company continue to own a majority of the business.

Yes, and: Proceeds will be invested in product expansion, research and development, and hiring.

  • It will also finance distribution, with Maev launching on third-party e-commerce platforms beginning with Amazon later this year.
  • The company is likely to turn to debt financing to fund inventory in the future.

By the numbers: Maev expects to quadruple revenue in 2022 from a high seven-figure mark to reach eight figures by the end of the year, though she declined to comment further.

  • It's also tripled its subscriber base so far this year as of June and has a "second-box" retention rate of 95%, versus the industry average of 60%, according to the company.

How it works: A D2C subscription-driven business, Maev's raw dog food is delivered frozen but can be removed from its packaging and immediately served to a pet, Spies says.

  • Relatively recent innovations in the frozen food distribution space have made this possible, she notes.
  • While the fresh pet food space is crowded, the raw pet food space is still a fairly new category, Spies says.

State of play: Deals preceding this one include Mars' acquisition of Nom Nom Now for a reported $1 billion and Freshpet raising $350 million in May via an equity offering.

What's next: The company plans to launch food for puppies within the next two months.

Flashback: Spies founded Maev because of her experience with her adopted dog George, whom she began feeding a raw food diet in hopes it would help heal his ailments, including seizures.

  • The change worked and she soon found herself making raw dog food for other pet owners experiencing similar issues.

Of note: The company, which launched its products in 2020, is named after an Irish wolf hound Maev, whom Spies was a dog walker for and who had a number of health issues.

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