Nestlé Purina PetCare has acquired a majority stake in Tails.com, a direct-to-consumer, tailor-made dog nutrition business based in the UK.
With the rapid growth of personalised pet nutrition, as well as subscription services, Nestlé Purina’s shareholding in this digital first business offers significant growth opportunities for both companies.
Launched in 2014, Tails.com has brought tailored dog nutrition to consumers at competitive prices.
The company was early to identify changes in the way consumers want to shop and care for their pets, and married digital technology, food innovation and new manufacturing techniques to provide food individually tailored according to factors such as a dog’s age, breed, size and level of activity.
Powered by a proprietary nutritional algorithm developed by vets, nutritionists and software engineers, the company now feeds more than 100,000 dogs in the UK.
Tails.com customers also benefit from home delivery, as well as access to an in-house nutrition support team.
Tails.com will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity, with co-founder and CEO James Davidson at the helm.
The current management team and employees will remain shareholders and continue to run the business from its base in Richmond, West London.
Both companies have a mutual desire to help make pets and their owners’ lives better, with Purina’s extensive pet nutrition expertise, industry leading research and new technologies complementing Tails.com’s own existing capabilities.
Bernard Meunier, CEO, Nestlé Purina PetCare EMENA, said: “Personalised pet nutrition, along with direct-to-consumer subscription services, are expanding rapidly and this move underlines our focus on investing in high-growth categories and acting on consumer trends.
"Tails.com has a unique and winning business model that successfully combines individually customised recipes with a best in class pet owner experience, and all at competitive prices.
"The team behind Tails.com has achieved strong growth and generated outstanding customer engagement and loyalty. Our support will enable the acceleration of Tails.com’ expansion plans in the UK and beyond.”
James Davidson, CEO, Tails.com, said: “When we launched the company nearly four years ago, we were excited to bring something totally new to pet care in the UK.
"Our mission is to change the world of pet food for good, by providing every dog with its own unique, blended recipe. We’ve been amazed by the response from pet owners. We now provide four million bespoke meals per month to dogs across the UK and expect to see sales of well over £20 million this year.
"Purina’s support gives us the opportunity to build on this success in the UK and beyond, reaching more pets with our tailored nutrition.
"We will continue to run the business with the same entrepreneurial and customer-centric vision that has already brought us so much success.”
Headquartered in Richmond, Surrey with their Factory Kitchen in Hounslow, Tails.com has grown from a founding team of eight to over a hundred employees and production staff, led by a team of senior management and in-house experts including:
● Co-founder & CEO: James Davidson
● Chief Financial Officer: Mel Hedley Lewis
● Chief Operating Officer: Steve Spall
● Chief Marketing Officer: Miranda Creswell
● Head Vet: Sean McCormack Bsc (Hons) MVB, MRVS
● Lead Nutritionist: Dr Samantha Ware, PhD
● Vet Nurse: Amy Henson BSc (Hons) RVN, N.Cert (SAN)
Tails.com is Europe’s most advanced player in the direct-to-consumer, tailor-made pet food category.
The business now delivers more than 4 million bespoke dog meals each month and expects sales to exceed well over £20 million this year. Co-Founder & CEO James Davidson Born and raised in Kent, James studied Chemical Engineering at The University of Nottingham, graduating with a BEng 1st Class Degree.
James joined Unilever as a graduate trainee and went on to become a Factory Operations Manager.
A big turning point for James was his time volunteering at Raleigh International as Deputy Expedition Leader straight after Unilever. He spent four months with Raleigh in Central America and came back to the UK with a commitment to work on things that brought together a strong sense of organisational purpose along with an entrepreneurial approach to making things happen.
Joining Innocent Drinks as Head of Production responsible for the manufacturing base, his role grew to Head of Supply Chain Operations, supporting the company during a period of 5x revenue growth. Following seven years at Innocent, James was approached by Graham Bosher (Graze, Lovefilm) and Joe Inglis (Vets in Practice) with a new pet food idea – given his experience in human food innovation and operations.
As one of the co-founders, James took over as CEO shortly after the brand’s launch in November 2014. Timeline
● June 2013: The idea of Tails.com was born
● December 2013: Tails.com raise £5M in their first round of Seed Investment
● July 2014: Tails.com launches
● September 2015: Tails.com introduces wet food to the service offering to complement their customised kibble blends
● November 2015: Raised Series A Round with Octopus Ventures, Jam Jar (run by the founders of Innocent Drinks) and Draper Esprit
● April 2016 : Tails.com increases offering to include a range of treats and biscuits, as part of their subscription package
● July 2016 : Tails.com introduce a weaning food for puppies; customised recipes for each stage of a puppies growth