Have you heard of the “pandemic puppy”? Or better yet, are you one of those who got one?
As lockdowns led to loneliness, many turned to pet adoption amid the pandemic. The increased global interest in adopting pets, especially dogs, even inspired researchers to conduct a study on what happens to these animals when pet owners return to the office after an extended work-from-home ritual. The study found that it’s possible for pets to develop separation anxiety or be banished to an animal shelter when the owners no longer work from home.
Besides the abandonment of pets, another aspect discussed in the study was the lack of veterinary care during the pandemic, which may have affected animal welfare.
Aanandi Sardana, A recent graduate of the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, Canada, returned to India for some time during the pandemic and saw many people around her adopting pets.
“I saw that some of my close friends and family members and many others appeared to have either a dog or a cat. There have also been many first-time pet parents due to the lockdown. And a big problem they faced was having someone they could trust to call them if their pet was unwell,” says Aanandi Your history.
After thinking a little deeper about her concerns and looking at the market, she realized that the disorganized nature of the veterinary services industry had left pet owners in the dark when it came to finding basic needs like care, education and medical supplies.
Refusing Company Offers that 22 year old graduate decided to try entrepreneurship and foundeda platform for booking home visit appointments for pets.
Digitization of pet services
“With digitization accelerating, it was surprising to see that there was no such service for this segment in India. During my four year stay in Canada, I saw that this type of digital pet care is already commonplace, and has been for at least eight or nine years. This prompted me to get out and meet more pet parents, as well as visit vet clinics and animal adoption centers and talk to stakeholders to find out exactly how to fill this gap. This is how Pet Set Paw came about,” explains the founder.
When she returned to Canada to resume her studies in January 2021, Aanandi started preliminary work for the platform. She contacted research trainers, veterinarians and carers and built a network of service providers Delhi NCR Region.
In September this year, the website was ready and the startup has already onboarded a number of verified service providers and piloted the services to customers across the capital region.
A one-woman army, Aanandi says she received initial financial help from her father, who also advises her on the operational aspects of the company.
“I’m working with very limited resources and right now I just want to make sure there’s market validation and product market fit and that people can actually resonate with the platform we’re trying to create. Our site uses Google Forms to understand customer requirements when they make an inquiry and we take it from there. The majority of our customer acquisition is currently through Facebook and Google ads,” she explains.
How it works
Pet Set Paw’s doorstep services are charged based on distance and the type of service required. For example, vet visits can cost somewhere in between Rs 500 and Rs 700with additional costs for medication/vaccinations, personal hygiene and training.
The platform offers two types of care services – a home care service and a care truck.
With home care services, a team of two caregivers visit the site with all the necessary equipment and clean up once the job is done. The price ranges between Rs 800 and Rs 2,000 for this service.
Users can also opt for a cleaning van service, where a grooming team equipped with all the equipment visits the pet’s home, saving the pet parents the trouble of providing space, water, etc. The price range is from Rs 1,600 to Rs 4,000– depending on the size of the pet, the duration and the type of grooming service.
While Pet Set Paw does not charge service providers to be included on the Platform, it will a 15 percent commission for each achievement.
According to Bonafide Research’s India Pet Care Market Outlook, 2025 report, the Indian pet care market is expected to reach Rs 5,457 billion by the end of 2025, at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 19 percent.
Widespread digital adoption and an increasing number of pet parents have led more and more entrepreneurs to explore innovative business models in this segment. Pet Set Paw’s competitors include Doggie the App, Fur Ball Story, Wiggles and more.
On the differentiating factor of her startup, Aanandi notes:
“With Pet Set Paw, I’m not trying to build a brand; I’m here to build a marketplace for pet services – something that is scalable and will soon be available across India. I want to build a marketplace where all these brands come together to make it easier for pet owners.”
Since Pet Set Paw went live in September last year, pet owner demand has surged across the Delhi-NCR region, barring a brief dip during the peak of the Omicron outbreak.
As a solo entrepreneur, Aanandi admits there are challenges to overcome. “Coming from Delhi, it was easier to find my way around. Starting our activities in Mumbai was a whole different ball game and I plan to expand to Bengaluru soon as well. Just finding the right service providers in these locations, arranging meetings with them and getting them on board takes time and a lot of effort.”
After Bengaluru, the young entrepreneur plans to expand into other metropolitan areas such as Chennai and Calcutta and move to Tier II and Tier III cities such as Amritsar, Baroda, Pune and places in the Northeast.
“I think I got confirmation that I’m on the right track. I will give it the next few years and see how it develops. I feel like this is the right age for me to try entrepreneurship,” she concludes.