How one company is helping pet owners save $1,000’s on annual vet visits with preventative health care.
With CEO of Pawp, Marc Atiyeh.
Over the past year, our team at Odie has observed rising star pet company, Pawp, evolve from an ecommerce site to now a 24/7 digital health clinic for your pet. But what really piqued our curiosity was the moment they announced their vets could recommend personalized dog care packages. These also happen to include their own line of high-quality supplements. Being a company that is obsessed with pet health, and dealing with our own array of dog issues from itchy skin to immobile joints, we wanted to dig into Pawp’s focus on preventative pet care.
We were lucky enough to score an interview with Pawp’s CEO, Marc Atiyeh, and learn all about the company’s journey from start to finish including their newest addition, Unlimited Vet Texts and Calls for only $10 a month.
[Odie interviewer] Marc, thank you so much for the opportunity. We’ve been big fans of Pawp and it’s been very cool seeing you guys morph into a preventative pet care company. How did you decide that pet care was in your future?
[Marc Atiyeh, Pawp] Well to start, I grew up in Lebanon with pets and when I moved to the U.S. for college, I decided to get my first dog, Chelsea. She’s a yorkie and has way more followers than I do. Almost 200,000 on TikTok (@chelseatheyorkie). As a pet parent, you want the best for your dog and we were always on the search for the best products. There is consistently a need for something better.
That’s how we felt about pet insurance. We weren’t satisfied with what was on the current market and knew we could build something better.
Exactly. But I didn’t jump into the pet space right away. When I moved to New York, I worked for a couple of startups. The first helped consumers find the best prices for an item from multiple online retailers. For example, a pair of jeans. It would continue to scan the internet after you purchased that item and if the price dropped within a number of days then you would get money back. Another company I worked for helped millennials manage their finances. It gave customers actionable insights such as canceling certain subscriptions or opening up an account and getting a loan. The company was eventually purchased by Goldman Sachs.
Did the experience at these companies give you inspiration for Pawp?
Yes, both of these companies focused on the consumer first, millennials specifically, and made it very personal for them. Most companies will make products to sell first and consumers are smart, they know they deserve better. At Pawp, we have 6 to 7 team members that are either pet parents themselves or grew up around pets. Together we are able to build products that are better than what’s out there because of our personal experience.
When you first began, I remember Pawp as an ecommerce site with toys and accessories.
Initially our idea was about a curated experience, then recommendation. Curation plus recommendation equals personalization. We never worked with wholesalers and went for brands that have an audience that looked similar to ours. Andrew Malek, our CTO, is great at building beautiful products and helped create a wonderful user experience.
So, how did you go from ecommerce to preventative pet health?
We saw how many products there were on the market. The pet space is like the finance world. It can get very overwhelming and millennials are getting lost in the options. We wanted to help our audience plug into the best products and also help the best players plug into our audience.
Was making your own line of supplements always the plan as you moved into the pet health market?
As we started comparing products such as supplements and dental care, we saw an opportunity for improvement. I studied engineering and have a marketing background so I was by no means an expert but I knew experts. I had access to companies with a lot of veterinary partners. We worked with vets, spoke with friends, family and other pet parents to conduct our market research. There were three common health goals: 1) hip and joint care, 2) skin and coat care, and 3) digestion. That’s how we ended up with the current suite of products.
Our dogs take daily supplements for their skin and joints. How do your products differ?
The potency and the quality. We focused on improving the ingredient quality and adding in things like omegas that truly benefit. Many dog food brands don’t include omegas so a supplement is necessary. The quality of our products is about as premium as you can get at a less expensive price.
At what point should pet owners start adding supplements to their dog’s diet?
It’s like asking your doctor if you should start taking a multivitamin. It’s adding to your daily nutrition. However, it’s also about the health goals you and your vet want to see for your dog. Whether it’s combating digestion issues or itchy skin, your vet can advise you on what to feed your dog.
You also recently introduced Pawp’s 24/7 Vet Access. As an insurance company, we know that many concerns can easily be addressed over the phone or via video chat. Give us the scoop.
Yes, we just introduced our unlimited 24/7 vet texts and calls for only $10 a month. It gives you digital vet access using either text, phone calls, or video chat which can help save pet owners up to $2,000 per year on vet visits. Our vets can also recommend a customized Pawp plan for your pet’s preventative care. It by no means replaces your vet but offers a first line of defense. Pet owners can take comfort in knowing someone who knows their pet can answer their burning questions at any time of the day.
Your main plan consists of 24/7 access to vets, but these vets build pet profiles and recommend regular products to ensure your pet stays healthy. What products are those?
Our recommendations are based in four preventative health categories:
- Nutritional supplements
- Oral health
- Parasite control
Pawp Clinic members can decide if they want to automate shipments every month, two months, etc.