In conversation with Mr. Sagar Gwalani, Founder of Pettle, he discusses the inspiration behind venturing into the pet industry as a software company, their unique roles that help pet businesses, and his plans for the future.

What Inspired You To Venture Into The Pet Industry And How Did Pettle Fit Into This Landscape?

My source of inspiration sits right behind me every day – a picture of my beloved dog. Monk, my first fur baby, opened the door to my exploration of the pet industry from a consumer’s standpoint. Prior to Monk’s arrival, my attention wasn’t particularly drawn to this sector. However, his presence prompted a shift in perspective. Drawing from my background in spearheading growth marketing and sales at various startups, I realised that this lens had always been available to me; it just took Monk’s influence for me to apply it to the pet industry.

I began to discern potential gaps and opportunities for improvement in this domain, eventually motivating me to dive in. The evolution of Pettle, as it stands today, has been a result of numerous iterations. We started with one concept, conducted extensive research, gained invaluable insights, and then shifted our focus to other areas. Leveraging my tech startup background, I aimed to deploy technology as a means to address challenges within the pet industry. Another critical element in this journey has been the emphasis on thorough user research, a value that I hold personally and have instilled as a cornerstone within our team. This involves engaging with the exceptional individuals who make up the pet industry – from stakeholders to shareholders – to glean profound insights that inform our approach.

One Of Pettle’s Key Propositions Is Helping Pet Businesses Save 50-60 Hours A Month By Automating Admin Tasks. Can You Explain How Your Platform Achieves This And The Gist Of Tasks It Helps Businesses Automate?

Undoubtedly, this insight stands as one of the most pivotal revelations we’ve encountered. Initially, our primary clientele comprises pet service professionals encompassing boarders, groomers, trainers, and potentially veterinarians – a sector we’re closely monitoring. What we’ve uncovered is that these experts devote an average of one and a half to two hours daily to manually manage their backend administrative tasks. This is in addition to the exhaustive eight to ten hours they invest in pet care duties. For example, a groomer might spend up to eight hours at the grooming table, providing a range of services from a catalog of approximately 10 to 15 offerings.

The arduous process of keeping tabs on staff assignments, managing leave schedules, and recording various bookings was all handled manually, often with pen and paper or basic Excel spreadsheets. The workload escalated to a point where they were so engrossed in operational tasks that they had minimal time or mental bandwidth left for business growth.

Enter Pettle value proposition. As you’ll find on our website, our tagline reads: “Spend more time growing your business, not just running it. Let Pettle ‘run your business for you.” Remarkably, we’ve successfully reduced the time dedicated to administrative chores from a staggering 50 to 60 hours a month (about two hours daily) to a mere 15 to 20 minutes a day. This not only translates into time saved but also yields additional benefits in terms of streamlined operations and well-organised databases. Consequently, these professionals gain a deeper understanding of their customer base, making it easier to distinguish regular clients from new ones and offer them enhanced services.

Furthermore, the transition to online booking and status tracking, facilitated by Pettle, has significantly elevated the customer experience for our early adopters in the boarder and groomer community.

How Does Pettle Enable Pet Businesses To Make Data- Informed Decisions And Implement Effective Market Strategies?

Certainly, as I mentioned earlier, having access to a comprehensive database is paramount for professionals in the pet boarding and grooming industry. According to our initial estimations, pet service professionals tend to accumulate an average of around 100 new clients for every year they are in business. For example, a one-year-old business may have about a hundred clients, while a five-year-old business could range from 400 to 600 clients. Those with 12 to 13 years of experience might have around 1500 clients.

With such a significant client base, these professionals have a valuable opportunity to tailor their services by categorising clients into different segments. Pettle facilitates this segmentation, enabling them to easily identify their regular customers. This can pave the way for personalised offerings, such as preferential pricing or priority booking slots. Pettle simplifies these processes, making it more efficient to manage and personalise services.

Pettle provides valuable insights into customer cohorts and segments, empowering pet service professionals to better understand their clients. This encompasses information on pet preferences, dietary choices, preferred grooming products, and even medical histories. While pet boarders and groomers may have this information on hand, Pettle helps them leverage it more effectively, resulting in increased revenues and enhanced customer experiences, which often go hand in hand.

In The Competitive Landscape Of Business Automation And Management Tools, What Sets Pettle Apart From Other Solutions Available In The Market?

Pettle’s distinctiveness in the competitive landscape of business automation and management tools arises from its meticulous consideration of both the customer and consumer. In the pet industry, the customer is the pet owner, while the consumer is the pet itself. Pettle stands as one of the few business automation, ERP, or CRM tools in our country that has undergone extensive research to specifically cater to the requirements of pet service professionals and their diverse clientele, comprising both humans and pets.

In some instances, we’ve observed groomers using software intended for human salons, or pet boarders employing tools designed for booking human accommodations. While these solutions serve their purposes to some extent, they lack the industry-specific intricacies essential for effectively collecting and managing pet-related information and preferences. Pettle bridges this gap by customising its features to align with the distinct user journeys within the pet industry. Moreover, we highly value customer feedback and maintain an ongoing dialogue with our users to consistently refine our product.

In essence, Pettle’s standout attribute lies in its profound comprehension of the pet service industry, addressing the needs of both pet owners and their beloved pets. This sets it apart from generic business automation tools tailored for human-centric enterprises.

Why Is It A Good Time For A Software Company To Enter The Pet Industry?

I received continuous affirmation of our relevance, particularly at the IIPTF event last month. To be candid, I had some initial apprehensions upon arrival. Surrounded by product and food companies, I pondered what a software company like ours could bring to the table. Would our stall draw any interest? Much to my surprise, the opposite transpired. We not only captured significant attention but also fielded numerous inquiries. People were keen to understand how we could assist them, and it wasn’t limited to our intended audience of boarders & groomers. We attracted a diverse spectrum of professionals, including veterinarians, retailers, manufacturers, and wholesalers. This signals a promising growth phase for our industry. We’re just scratching the surface, and the trajectory is set for rapid acceleration, all thanks to technology and data. In fact, I’d venture to say that progress in this field is inconceivable without the integration of technology and data.

In essence, it’s an exceptional moment for Pettle, as well as any other entrant, to step into the market and contribute to the digital transformation of data and operations, starting from the grassroots level and extending far beyond. The fact that we resonated with such a wide audience at IRPT aligns seamlessly with our overarching objectives.

What Are Pettle’s Plans For Further Expansion And Innovation?

Over the next 12 to 18 months, our primary focus will revolve around deepening our presence in the two markets we currently serve: pet boarders and groomers. While we are commencing operations in India, we have already piqued interest from international markets such as the US, South Africa, and Australia. We will certainly address these inquiries, yet our initial months in India will be dedicated to refining our product and streamlining our processes.

Throughout the first year to year and a half, our paramount objective remains to further solidify our foothold in the pet boarding and grooming market. However, we remain receptive to internal innovation and potential collaborations with other stakeholders in related sectors, including the vet and retail industries.

Pettle’s grand vision is to evolve into a technological force that positively influences every facet of the pet industry, benefiting not only industry professionals but also pet parents. This envisions a 15 to 20-year trajectory, during which we will gradually diversify into various verticals. Your invaluable feedback is sincerely welcomed, and we trust that this model will prove successful as we navigate through this distinctive and promising terrain.

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