Nilabh Nilottpal loves dogs. While growing up in his hometown Ranchi in Jharkhand, he was fond of pet dogs. When he was a high school student in Scindia School in Gwalior, Nilottpal used to regularly feed stray dogs. Quite expectedly, after completing his engineering from the R.V. College of Engineering in Bengaluru, Nilottpal wanted to tap the growing pet business in India which he feels has lot of potential but is still very unorganised and mainly dominated by the pet food sector.
“There are four million pet dogs in India and it is the fastest growing pet industry globally in terms of annual growth. It is growing at a rate of 14 per cent every year. The size of the Indian pet industry was around $1.22 billion in 2016 compared to $800 million in 2015. In comparison, the US pet industry is around $70 billion and is growing at the rate of 10 per cent annually,” Nilottpal told THE WEEK.
This young founder feels that much needs to be done when it comes to providing services around pets as people do not have time to look after their pets due to their busy schedules. Keeping this in mind, he had launched his start-up named Zoey (named after his pet dog who died sometime back) in August 2016 in Bengaluru with a focus on at home services, dog training and grooming.
“We received a good response post the launch of our services and now we also focus on cats as well. We have an app named Zoey which is available on Android and iOS. The app displays all the necessary information and one can even fix an appointment through the app for at home and other services such as dog spa,” Nilottpal said.
Currently, the app has features including at home dog grooming, pet stores and veterinary clinic locator, pet pedia which has information about different varieties of dogs, among others. In addition to this, the app also has a forum wherein pet lovers, pet owners and vets can interact. The app also has a vaccination chart which can help dog owners to know about their dog's vaccination schedule and prices. In the coming months, the app will have added features, including at home vet services which will facilitate vaccinations and general health checkups at home. There will be a dog walking schedule. Additionally there would be mating services too which will help find a mate for a person's dog from their nearby locality.
“I felt that people just do not have enough knowledge about their pet's vaccination. In the end, they end up paying more for a particular vaccine or a service due to lack of information. We try to connect them with service providers and also have an in house team which helps them provide different services. Initially, we have introduced it for dogs and cats, but plan is to extend this to even rats and hamsters. Our greatest challenge has been to get well trained people who can help us provide pet care services,” Nilottpal said.
Currently, Zoey is a self-funded venture confined to Bengaluru, but the company is planning to launch operations in other cities and even in tier II cities of the country. “We believe in improving the quality of life of pets without distressing the life of the pet owner. We feel that the pet owner should keep pets without worrying about the services associated with its upbringing and rearing,” said Nilottpal.