The Farmer’s Dog

At Shasta, one of the things we get most excited about is when we meet an entrepreneur who has a unique insight about their customer and the market opportunity.

When Michael Dubin told us his vision to build an emotional brand in the commodity category of razors, and how many guys would resonate with his messaging, our ears perked up. We backed him as one of Dollar Shave Club’s first investors. When Jeff Kearl shared his vision to build an authentic brand for creatively-designed socks, a category of clothing that has lacked innovation in decades, and how cultural influencers had already flocked to the product, we knew we had to invest in Stance. When Tony Fadell told us about the idea for Nest at the Series A, we’d never thought about reinventing the thermostat and how people could fall in love with a connected hardware brand, but he convinced us it would happen.

Brett Podolsky (left) and Jonathan Regev (right), co-founders at The Farmer’s Dog, with their dogs , Jada and Buddy.

In October of last year, I met Jonathan Regev, co-founder and CEO of The Farmer’s Dog, in Brooklyn. As Jonathan told the company’s story, I immediately thought of the above examples of other founders we’ve backed. Jonathan has a unique insight about pet food: the highly processed food in the market today is really unhealthy for dogs. He explained how The Farmer’s Dog offers a consumer experience that is 10x better than the status quo — fresh, healthy, human-grade food, conveniently delivered on a subscription basis, in easy-to-use packaging. And he talked about his mission to make pet food healthy and accessible for all.

Picasso the bulldog with The Farmer’s Dog turkey meal in his personalized packaging.

Today, The Farmer’s Dog is announcing an $8.1M Series A led by Shasta Ventures, with participation from existing investors (and good friends) Forerunner Ventures, Collaborative Fund, SV Angel, and Jason Fiedler (a former colleague of mine who introduced us to Jonathan — thanks Jason!). I am excited to join the company’s board of directors, alongside The Farmer’s Dog co-founders Jonathan and Brett, and Eurie Kim at Forerunner.

Why the dog food market, and why this company?

Today, more households in America have a dog than a kid. Dogs have become a more and more important part of our culture, and, frankly, our day-to-day happiness, over the past few decades. The key to happy, healthy dogs, is healthy food. Over $20B is spent on pet food annually in the U.S., and there is a trend towards healthy, premium food over the last decade. But the industry is plagued by issues with food safety and false marketing. Most pet food is very high in starch and cooked at very high temperatures, a combination that recent studies show may heighten cancer risk.

The Farmer’s Dog makes fresh, healthy, human-grade food, out of a USDA regulated human grade facility, with high quality ingredients and supplements to foster a balanced diet. Most dogs absolutely love it. It’s what dogs are just supposed to eat. But The Farmer’s Dog team promises that if your dogs don’t, they’ll eat the food themselves.

“If your dog doesn’t love it, send it back, we’ll eat it.”

The company launched in 2015 with Jonathan and Brett cooking the food themselves for eight dogs out of a Brooklyn kitchen and managing orders on a spreadsheet. Today, you can sign up for a personalized subscription plan for your dog at https://www.thefarmersdog.com/, and the company serves thousands of dogs out of a commercial kitchen in NY. But their goal is to serve millions of dogs over the next few decades. This is a team on a mission to make every dog healthy and happy, and the Shasta team could not be more excited to be on this journey alongside them. Come join us!

Shasta partner Jason Pressman and his dogs, Cosette and Jager (our expert consultants on The Farmer’s Dog), with Jonathan at Shasta Ventures’ office.