CatDogFish business strategy
Design and launch a pet healthcare start-up with customers at its core
Team structure: copywriter, visual designer
My role: business strategist
Half of all UK households own a pet; that’s 17 million cats and dogs*. It’s safe to say that the nation loves its pets. However, there is a perceived lack of clarity and honesty in pet healthcare. Our mission was to address this issue by making it easier for disenfranchised millennial pet owners to care for their pets.
We thought that the best way to achieve this was to launch a truly disruptive yet simple insurance product. However, after working closely with an insurance underwriter we found that they were not ready to innovate at the rate we needed.
My challenge was to identify a new opportunity within the pet healthcare space.
I created a new business strategy for CatDogFish to become the ‘NHS portal for pets’. Their mission is now to create better pet parents, by expertly curating content, goods and services that help you keep your pet healthy.
With this strategy, CatDogFish were awarded a 2017 cohort place on Telefónica's Startup Accelerator, Wayra.
Work out how to conduct qualitative and quantitative research with almost no budget.
Through creating a viral facebook video campaign and cycling around parks giving out dog poo bags, I conducted 21 in-person interviews and surveyed 208 cat, dog, and fish owners.
After synthesising this information, I discovered a few key insights about pet owner behaviours.
I conducted desk research to understand if there were opportunities based on these insights. I analysed the UK pet healthcare market and mapped out the relevant business ecosystem.
Through matching a customer insight with the market analysis, I found our unlock: When pet owners noticed a change in their pet’s behaviour, they search the Internet before deciding whether to go to the vet. However, there is no engaging and trustworthy online health resource for when pets became ill.
I mapped out the vision and strategy to monetise the business. I started to build partnerships with vets, pet food providers, pet salons so that we had a strong network to grow our following.
I created a pitch deck for the strategy and, although left the business, the team have been building the portal ever since…
Prior to the decision to pivot, we had spent almost a year attempting to take a large insurance underwriter on a journey to meet millennial customers. We tried to change the terms under which the policy was sold to make it more fair and flexible. I worked iteratively with the compliance team to rewrite the policy in layman’s terms. We were so close, yet so far. The decision to pivot did not come lightly, but it was necessary. We didn’t want to launch an insurance package unless it was truly innovative, and to do this we realised that we needed to grow our customer base so that we would have leveraging power.
The entrepreneurial spirit of having to do things on almost no budget was probably one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learnt. Having to “hussle” forces you to think creatively and take risks. This mindset is something that I have undoubtedly brought to my role in a corporate, sometimes it’s well received and sometimes not. However, if I need to get something done, I will find a way of doing it.
*Pet Food Manufacturers Association