The Munich-based startup VEGDOG attracted hate comments and criticism when it appeared on “Die Höhle der Löwen” (known as Shark Tank in the UK) to present its product – a completely plant-based dog food.
But – in just one year, the small team consisting of founders Tessa Zaune-Figlar and Valerie Henssen – as well as Lena Oblinger, who is responsible for the development of the company – achieved a turnover of 1 million euros and expanded both its product range and the German market.
Alongside a veterinarian, the inventors of the first completely plant-based food for dogs polarised opinions when they appeared on the programme “Die Höhle der Löwen” in 2018. By then, the company already had a turnover of 100,000 euros, with an investment of 150,000 euros from Dagmar Wöhrl. While some viewers were highly critical of the company and the idea of a plant-based alternative for dogs, its continuing success has proven them wrong.
10,000 sales in 4 hours
Just a few hours after the show was broadcast last autumn, Vegdog had received 10,000 more orders. In just a few weeks, it was 100,000. Most of them were from new customers. “Of course such a new and innovative product provokes critical questions, but the thousands of positive responses we have received from dog owners confirm that we are definitely satisfying a need with VEGDOG,” says investor Dagmar Wöhrl.
Rapidly growing future market
The figures for the pet food market speak for themselves. In 2018, for example, sales of pre-packaged pet foods totalled 3.226 billion euros in Germany, and they continue to grow annually. Tessa Zaune-Figlar and Valerie Henssen have long been convinced that meat will be a thing of the past in the foreseeable future. They have positioned VEGDOG in the market at exactly the right time, because the number of vegans in Germany continues to grow. And with 9.4 million dogs in the country, growth in the plant-based dog food market is guaranteed.
Market leadership and expansion
The focus continues to be on Germany – VEGDOG wants to be the brand leader in dog food from alternative, sustainable protein sources in three years’ time. In addition, the new company will continue to expand its product range, with over fifteen new vegan products to be added over the next few years and expansion and market launches in England, France, and Italy.