PrideBites Chows On $500K Seed Funding
AUSTIN, TX, PrideBites has closed an initial seed funding round of $500K.
On Friday, April 8, 2016, PrideBites co-founders, Steven Blustein (CEO), and Sean Knecht (CMO), along with his dog, Sadie, appeared on ABC's The Shark Tank seeking $200,000 in exchange for 10% percent equity to expand manufacturing capabilities for its fully customizable line of dog products. Impressed by the team's pitch, success of the business thus far, and the line of products themselves, Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec paired up to offer PrideBites $200,000 for 20% percent equity in the company.
'When PrideBites started we were just a group of dog-loving college friends. We were unhappy with the look, feel and versatility of dog toys on the market, so we decided to create our own,' said Blustein. 'We were incredibly fortunate to receive an overwhelming amount of support out of the gate with our first products, but we could never have imagined that in a few short years we'd be on ABC's Shark Tank, and have Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec wanting to invest in us!'
While conversations continue with Greiner and Herjavec, PrideBites has closed an initial seed funding round of $500,0000 with ATX Seed Ventures, BlueStel Ventures and Tucker Max, among other previous investors.
'We're always excited to invest in companies with highly engaged user bases and there is perhaps no user base more passionate than pet parents looking to pamper their pets,' said Chris Shonk, General Partner, ATX Seed Ventures. 'PrideBites has utilized a personalized approach to gain early traction with dog owners and an innovative on-demand platform to efficiently manufacture and ship custom products to them. With this massive new exposure to pet parents across the country, I believe it is poised to be a new leader in pet commerce.'
With pet related spending hitting more than $60B in 2015, the purchase of pet products online is seeing double digit growth year over year. Although there are thousands of companies in dog ecommerce targeting the 54 million households owning a dog, PrideBites has dug out its own niche by becoming the 'Nike ID of pet products,' while building a uniquely flexible and efficient manufacturer and supplier network.
'The two major reasons I cut back on seed investing was lack of good people to invest in and the amount of time it took to assist companies,' said Tucker Max. 'PrideBites continues to be an exception. While I've certainly invested a lot of hours assisting the company, they've always maximized the return on that time and I knew from day one that it was the right team to address this multibillion dollar market.'
Prior to Shark Tank, PrideBites had seen impressive momentum, landing its products in over 2,500 stores in the first year, doubling growth year-over-year and being honored with the 'Dog Toy of the Year' award by Pet Business Magazine. With the new capital, the company plans to continue enhancing its efficient back-end personalization and fulfillment platform, grow its sales and marketing efforts, and expand into additional pet verticals. The company also has plans to roll out several new products over the next 90 days.
Created in a dorm room in 2012 by founders Steven Blustein, Sean Knecht, Sam Lampe, and Ting Liu, PrideBites' mission is to give everyone personalized pet products that are just as unique as their pets. The Austin-based startup, which launched PrideBites.com in 2014, allows customers to easily customize and personalize a wide variety of durable products, including toys, beds, and leashes with their pets names and pictures. For more information, visit www.pridebites.com.
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