Doting pet parents are increasingly becoming the norm and this year alone spending in the pet care industry is estimated to exceed $75B. Pet owners want the best for their pets and Jinx is the DTC pet wellness brand that wants your dog to be eating a balanced and wholesome diet. All of Jinx’s kibble is made with high-quality ingredients using proprietary formulas. The company is currently pre-launch and within the next few months, Jinx will bring its first highly-anticipated product to market.
LA TechWatch sat down with Cofounder and CEO Terri Rockovich (ex-Casper) to learn more about the Jinx’s origin, future growth plans, and recent heavily oversubscribed seed funding round.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised a total of $5.65M from the following set of investors:
- VCs Alexis Ohanian of Initialized Capital, Align Ventures, Brand Foundry, Wheelhouse Group, Sinai Ventures
- Will Smith & Family, NAS, Halsey, Lilly Singh, Michael Strahan, Daniel Sturridge, Zachary Quinto, Alice Eve.
- &vest and NQV8.
Tell us about the product or service Jinx offers
Jinx is a new pet wellness brand that will cater to Modern Doghood, starting with nutrition since it is the most important pillar of wellness. We will offer a nutritionally comprehensive and balanced kibble and treating system made with high-quality ingredients and proprietary formulas that eliminate artificials and fillers and use only the best proteins and superfoods – starting with Organic Chicken.
What inspired the start of Jinx?
As dog-obsessed pet owners, we want to provide our furry friends with the highest quality life possible. The dog parent trend is here to stay, and we were hungry for healthier options. With nutrition as arguably one of the most important pillars in overall wellbeing (for dogs and humans alike), we wanted to create better food options to put in front of our pets that signal a real investment in their longevity and overall health.
Who are your primary competitors?
Our brand will be positioned in the premium category, between brands like Blue Buffalo and Orijen.
How is Jinx different?
Unlike many other dog food brands on the market, Jinx will offer a nutritionally comprehensive and calorically balanced kibble and treat system made with high-quality ingredients and proprietary formulas that will power our modern-day dogs with their overall wellness at the forefront. After all, our dogs are not wolves and do not need the same high protein/raw/whole prey formulas that their ancestors did because they are not hunting their own food, providing for their packs, or living in environments that require them to be working animals.
What market is Jinx targeting and how big is it?
Increased spending within the pet care industry, which is expected to exceed $75B this year, signals an increase in the modern pet owner’s desire and willingness to spend on their furry friends. Nearly half of Americans own one or more dogs, with Millennials serving as the largest cohort of pet owners that outspend all other segments as it relates to pet care. We want to be THE dog brand for Millennials.
What’s your business model?
We are launching the business through a direct-to-consumer model because we want to have an intimate connection point directly with the customer. A fully branded eCommerce experience delivers against the most important aspects between brand and consumer: ease and convenience, ultimate transparency, a 360-degree feedback loop, complete control over the branding, and the runway to innovate as informed by customer data and shopping behaviors.
What was the funding process like?
Fundraising was an absolutely energizing process. We hustled so hard to make sure that we met with everyone on our wishlist, and then some. We used these pitches to collect any and all feedback and optimize our positioning and business model. After 40+ conversations, we collected enough data points to form an opinion on who we wanted to bring on as partners during the inception of our business.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Our biggest challenge was fundraising during the holidays. It was during the November and December timeframe that we were pitching our hearts out and coordinating across partner calendars and PTO was a complete bear.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
The market is so big, and there are so many nuances to pet care and pet ownership. However, some of the trends that we researched were so relatable, as pet owners. Nearly half of Americans own one or more dogs, and the largest cohort of dog owners are Millennials. Due to the evolution of the relationship that Millennials have with their dogs, and the fact that they are delaying major life milestones (like having children) in lieu of finding purpose through their animals, they are looking for better options for these extended members of our family. All of those things have led to a trend in the premiumization and humanization of dog food and pet care products.
Due to the evolution of the relationship that Millennials have with their dogs, and the fact that they are delaying major life milestones (like having children) in lieu of finding purpose through their animals, they are looking for better options for these extended members of our family. All of those things have led to a trend in the premiumization and humanization of dog food and pet care products.
Additionally, our founding team had a sizeable equity transfer from our collective experience at Casper, being part of the founding team and having the opportunity to ride that rocketship. We had marketed our experience in the DTC space to inform a refreshing and modern approach to Doghood – from the shopping through the feeding experience.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We want to put something into the world that we are proud of and use the first 6 months of business to collect customer feedback that informs our optimization and efforts around product expansion going forward.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
I’d encourage early-stage businesses to look to Angel investors, in addition to traditional Venture Capitalists. There are a lot of successful entrepreneurs across categories that are looking to invest in high potential teams and ideas.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We have very ambitious goals, from customer acquisition through omnichannel distribution. We want to be the single destination for all things doggy management, and that vision can extend into all aspects of the product and service categories.
Where is the best place in LA to watch the sunset?
From the top of the Huntley Hotel, hands down.