Shopping Mall Petting Zoo “Mr Zoo” Completes Third Round of Fundraising This Year

Gobi Partners China
Sep 3, 2019 · 2 min read
Children at the indoor petting zoo “Mr Zoo” in mainland China

Mr Zoo has completed their third round of fundraising this year, including their Seed Round, Angel Round, and Pre-A Rounds led by Cambrian Venture Capital, Gobi Partners China, and Tou Tou Shi Dao (头头是道) respectively.

Indoor petting zoos first became popular overseas and had recently expanded to the Chinese market where there are currently 34 outlets in the country. Mr Zoo’s Founder Qiang Zuo shares that the traditional natural science education scene has lost its novelty appeal to consumers as service levels tend to be low, as is engagement level since the program formats don’t involve parents enough.

Mr Zoo has revolutionized the business model by setting up in shopping malls where they are not affected by adverse weather and families are able to visit the petting zoo without making a day trip to a remote location, with the added convenience of having other entertainment facilities in the same mall. The zoo’s program has also been redesigned to engage parents, where instructors work with them, who then teach children what they have learned.

“Mr Zoo’s team has an extensive knowledge in biology and have entered the market with a new retail model that offers a brand-new family experience for consumers. We look forward to seeing Mr Zoo become the benchmark company in the industry as the sector grows too”, says Michael Zhu, Managing Partner at Gobi Partners China.

Compared to other indoor petting zoos, Mr Zoo occupy much smaller retail spaces, averaging between 600 and 800 square metres per outlet as opposed to the typical 2,000–4,000 square metre locations. By being in smaller spaces, Mr Zoo is able to leverage nearby facilities such as playgrounds and restaurants without having to invest in larger spaces to bring those services in house, while maintaining the high level of engagement from visitors. This has also given the business operational advantages, where they are able to standardize layouts and shorten the renovation and set up period to 35 days compared to a typical timeframe of up to 6 months which is the industry standard.

Mr Zoo currently has five outlets, with six more to open in Shanghai and Suzhou. The team plans to open 40–50 new locations in the Nanjing and Beijing regions in the coming year.

Read the original 36Kr article in Chinese here.

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Gobi Partners China

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