Fresh pet healthtech trailblazer KatKin raises $22M Series A funding led by Verlinvest and Perwyn to challenge the standards of care set by the cat food industry
KatKin is Europe’s first fresh-cooked cat food and health company, founded by siblings Brett and Nikki O’Farrell
Each recipe has been formulated by a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist® using 100% human-grade meat, that’s gently steam cooked and then frozen fresh, featuring 0% fillers, grains or preservatives
The proprietary algorithm helps customers build personalised boxes of fresh meals, perfectly portioned to their cat’s unique traits: their age, weight, activity level, body shape and favourite flavours
Cat food is the fastest-growing sector in global pet food, expected to be worth around $50bn by 2030, but to date, there are no other companies prioritising fresh cat food
Series A was led by Verlinvest and Perwyn with participation from Octopus Ventures and Kreos Capital
London, August: KatKin, fresh food and pet healthtech platform, has secured Series A funding, and with it the healthier futures of cats worldwide, who will benefit from its industry-first fresh-cooked cat food. It’s not wet, not raw and definitely not dry – like everything KatKin does, its fresh food is 100% tailored to cats’ biological needs. Led by Verlinvest and Perwyn, along with Kreos and previous investor Octopus Ventures and strategic angels, who are all on board with both the mission and opportunity. This round takes the total amount raised to $28M.
As creator and champion of the new ‘fresh’ cat food category, KatKin is the rebel in a fast-growing market, challenging the pet food industry to do better for cats. Led by co-founders and siblings Brett and Nikki O'Farrell, KatKin is the brand that dedicated cat parents can trust to be uncompromising when it comes to their cats’ wellbeing. KatKin puts cat health before profits and favours research-backed science over cheap marketing wins. There are no fluffed-up claims; just a team that prides itself on doing things the right way, even when that means the hard way. A cat health company taking no shortcuts leads to longer cat lives.
Providing 100% fresh-cooked meals for cats
In the pet food industry at large, cats are the underdogs. Kibble was created because of World War II meat rations and has scarcely changed since, and cat parents are getting wise to it. They’re starting to question the big brands who use ‘with chicken’ labels when there’s as little as 4% chicken meat inside. The other 96% could be low-quality fillers, untraceable ‘meat and animal derivatives’ and additives hidden behind hard-to-understand labels. Poorly formulated diets can make cats unhappy, unwell, or overweight, with obesity now one of the top five welfare issues facing cats worldwide.
While startups are beginning to fill in the cracks of the pet food industry, around 96% of venture capital funding goes to dog-first founders, overlooking a cat market that is expected to be worth around $50bn by 2030, the fastest-growing sector in global pet food. Legacy brands taking advantage of this have merely polished their marketing without fundamentally improving what cats eat.
KatKin is a new breed. 100% fresh-cooked human-grade meat, 0% compromise and a rallying cry to cat parents everywhere: say goodbye kibble, let’s go hardcore for cat health. Guided by science, KatKin’s market-first fresh food replicates what cats evolved to eat in the wild - a high quality protein, high moisture and grain-free diet such as that found in fresh meat.
That’s why the team has focused on research and formulating its recipes, working with a Board Certified Vet Nutritionist® to create each of its eight recipes with 100% premium meat that is good enough for humans to eat and goes beyond a vet-approved stamp. It’s gently steamed and then frozen for the nutritious power of raw, minus the risks. The company’s proprietary algorithm enables the personalisation of food for an individual cat based on a range of inputs including weight, size, age, activity level and medical conditions. By utilising data, KatKin can also provide perfectly proportioned meals so cats can receive their exact nutritional requirements and prevent overfeeding.
As well, KatKin controls the supply chain from sourcing to shipping, so its product is not just free from preservatives, fillers and mysterious so-called animal derivatives, but proudly transparent and free from the risks associated with mass-produced food.
Fresh is best for healthy and happy cat lives
The 80,000 cats tucking into KatKin across the UK prove that fresh is best. More than 90% of cat parents report real-life improvements: 62% said their cat was more playful and energetic, 65% felt shiny, strokable coats and more than half reported improved digestion, as well as fewer trips to the vets. All better results at 25% less cost than existing premium brands.
With the new funding, KatKin will invest in growth, personalised health plans, and relentless scientific research and development. To that end, the brand is expanding its world-first fresh-cooked manufacturing site for cats, creating new jobs within KatKin’s growing team. Using a data-driven approach, its researchers are poised to develop further science-forward solutions to issues making cats unwell, from diabetes to renal disease.
In the coming years, KatKin strives to raise every area of cat wellbeing to the standard cats deserve. To feed the universal appetite for fresh food, its sights are set on global expansion in 2023. Sustainable tofu-based and health-indicating litters, worming and flea treatments will launch this year – with smart tech, stimulating toys and fairer insurance all in the pipeline. KatKin’s love-hard attitude is essential to its mission to set the standard for every cat brand and every cat parent, everywhere.
Brett O’Farrell, KatKin co-founder said: “KatKin began when Nikki and I questioned what we were feeding our cats Molly, Kiki and Columbus. The more we asked, the more horrified we were at what we found. So we gathered an ambitious, world-class team of people willing to stick their noses up at the cat food chain. Right now, mainstream cat food is stale – packed with cheap ingredients, hard-to-understand labels and fluffed-up claims. It’s difficult to find what’s best and customers are frustrated. In contrast, the demand is huge for KatKin – every six months we’re doubling in size and customer base. We’re grateful to Lopo and Cecile at Verlinvest and Andrew at Perwyn, and Kreos as well as for the continued support from Octopus and our angel investors. This support doesn’t just invest in our business but also the health and happiness of cats and cat parents.”
Nikki O’Farrell, KatKin co-founder added: “We’re cat parents that love hard. Cat wellbeing happens to be our profession but it’s our passion first. And it shows – we’re the highest-rated cat food brand on Trustpilot. It’s all about creating awareness among cat parents, bringing them together as a community to drive change in the cat food industry. With fresh, personalised and individual meals costing less than other premium brands and most mid-market brands, we’re on a mission to get all cats thriving.”
Lopo Champalimaud, Board Director, Verlinvest, said: “I am very excited to partner with Brett, Nikki and the KatKin team on their journey to revolutionise the pet food sector by offering healthy and fresh cat food at competitive prices. This is a sector that Verlinvest has been looking at for some time and KatKin is exactly the kind of innovative and disruptive brand that we love to support on its way to global leadership. Our cats deserve better. ”
Andrew Wynn, founder and Managing Partner, Perwyn, said: “Following our previous investment in the healthy pet food sector, and the invaluable experience that we built up in this market, it has been a delight to get to know Nikki and Brett and to learn about KatKin and the enormous success they have had with their brand. We are very excited to partner with them and to build the next chapter in KatKin’s story. The business is well-positioned to drive growth in the rapidly expanding fresh food market for pets, and we look forward to supporting KatKin on the execution of its expansion plans.”
Notes to editors:
Katkin customer testimonials:
“The best thing I’ve ever done for my cat. It’s like we have turned the clock back five years on him. KatKin saved his life.” — Dani and Kato
“After hundreds of pounds on vet bills, specialist foods, and medications for my cat’s stomach, things weren’t getting any better. Then I found KatKin. Now we have a bubbly, playful, happy little boy. He’s not lashing out anymore and he wants to play and run around. He’s become so much more active. No more nasty toilet experiences for either of us!” — Kes
“After losing two cats to pancytopenia, and with two more in a very delicate state, I decided never to give any of my cats dry food ever again. KatKin was the perfect option, and it was refreshing to see a cat food company that actually focuses on natural, nutritional food for cats. After switching to KatKin, my cats look really healthy, and their coats look amazing. The standards really need to change: we need to put more weight on our pet’s diets. It’s the main thing that contributes to their health and wellbeing.” — Nadia and Jinx
KatKin Morven Hamilton: email@example.com
Verlinvest Prosek Partners: firstname.lastname@example.org
Perwyn John West: email@example.com,
Llew Angus: firstname.lastname@example.org
Octopus Paul Crouch: Paul.Crouch@octopusventures.com
KatKin is Europe’s first fresh-cooked cat food and health company
It was co-founded in 2019 by uncompromising cat parents and siblings Nikki and Brett O’Farrell. They questioned why ‘high meat’ cat food can contain as little as 14% meat – far short of cats’ biological needs of 100% fresh meat as obligate carnivores
A Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist® formulates each recipe using 100% human-grade meat, gently steam cooked and frozen fresh. 0% fillers, grains or preservatives
With its proprietary algorithm, customers build personalised boxes of fresh meals, perfectly portioned to cats’ unique traits, including age, weight, activity level, body shape and their favourite flavours – choose from beef, chicken, turkey, duck, pork, lamb and fish
From only £1.75 a day, the convenient cat subscription service delivers fresh, real food direct to your door, every 28 days
KatKin is the best value for money cat food when it comes to protein content – the highest in the industry – and cost per calories
To date, KatKin has delivered around 9 million fresh meals to over 80,000 happy, healthy cats across the UK
Verlinvest is an international, family-backed evergreen investment company. It partners with visionary entrepreneurs who are driving consumer revolutions and building the next generation of category-defining brands that will positively impact the consumer sector for many years to come. With offices in New York, Brussels, London, Mumbai, and Singapore, Verlinvest focuses on growth-stage companies in FMCG, health and care, and digital platforms, which are restless to accelerate growth. The firm has over €2bn in AuM and counts brands such as Oatly, Vita Coco, Tony's Chocolonely, BYJU’s, Heads Up for Tails, and Who Gives A Crap among its portfolio. Verlinvest also supports consumer companies in the earlier stages of growth via its Ventures strategy.
Perwyn is a European private equity company specialising in buyout and growth capital investments in four sectors: Technology, Services, Healthcare, and Food & Ingredients. Typically, Perwyn invests between £20 and £200m in a limited number of businesses with the potential for significant growth.
Perwyn invests equity capital, expertise, and relentless energy to help ambitious management teams launch new products, capture new markets, and grow. That is all we do. Our substantial, permanent capital base allows us to focus 100% of our time and energy on achieving great things with the companies in which we invest. Current and previous brands include Gousto, Freshcut Foods, Secret Sales, HungryPanda, and Decibel.
About Octopus Ventures
For the people and ideas that will change the world, because we believe you can build a better tomorrow by investing in it.
We can back you at every stage of your journey, from ideas on a page through to IPO. Each year we deploy more than £200 million across five areas where we see maximum potential for impact: health, fintech, deep tech, consumer and B2B software. With many years of experience and expertise investing in each of these areas, our team can help our portfolio companies scale at speed.
We’ve backed the likes of ManyPets, Cazoo, Depop, Elvie and WaveOptics, while others have gone on to join forces with the world’s largest businesses.