South Korea’s pet care industry has been booming, with a number of new businesses and startups joining the sector with innovative products and services. Statista.com forecasts that the market size of the pet care industry in South Korea will reach six trillion won or about $5.2 billion by 2027. The lucrative business has been attracting big companies and retailers to take over pet care startups.
GS Retail, a Korean conglomerate GS Group subsidiary, which runs a chain of convenience stores in the country, announced that it has acquired a larger stake in online pet care retailer startup Pet Friends along with local private equity house IMM Private Equity.
Popular for ‘one-hour delivery service
Pet Friends is an e-commerce service for pet products started in 2015. The pet care startup offers one-hour delivery of pet products from noon to midnight in Seoul. Pet Friends sells pet foods, toys, accessories, etc. The delivery is free regardless of purchase value. Pet Friends has logged a 31.4 billion won or $27.2 million in revenue in 2020, up threefold over a year.
GS Retail already owned a minor stake of about 15 % in Pet Friends and the new deal will give GS Retail and IMM PE control of a combined 95 % of shares in Pet Friends. It will be in the form of acquiring existing shares held by the VCs and CEO Kim Chang-won of Pet Friends. GS Retail will likely control a 30 % stake by adding a 32.5 billion won or $28.2 million investment in the company. GS Retail made its first investment in Pet Friends in July 2017, and after making three additional investments in total, decided to jointly acquire it with IMM PE.
Startup to expand services with funds
Pet Friends, which secured a large amount of funds by joining IMM PE, a domestic private equity fund, plans to launch new services and brand collaboration products through partnerships with leading companies to leap beyond a simple specialized mall to become a companion animal lifestyle platform.
GS Retail has wanted to dominate the pet product/care retail sector and has acquired pet-care startups like ‘Dogmate,’ ‘Pet Pick,’ ‘Varam System,’ ’21gram’, etc.
Read More about startups in pet care in Korea,
- Korean startup Fitpet leading in Pet Care Technology gets largest Series B funding
- Korean startup Procyon’s Pet Price app can help to find the best Vet Clinic for your pooch
- Korean startup BEMYPET making pet-companionship fun for children with entertaining content
- Love for dogs & cats boost pet service market as Korean pet startups thrive & innovate