Insect-based pet food startup Aardvark has massively overachieved on its funding target as it prepares to launch its first products.
The fledgling business, which says it is ‘on a mission to make pet ownership more planet-friendly’, has raised more than £300k from 912 investors.
Having originally sought £50k on Crowdcube, valuing the company at £1.05m, it reached 100% of its initial target after just five days. Aardvark ended the round early after just 25 days when it raised 600% of its original target.
The raise will support the brand’s plans to manufacture and market its inaugural range of dry kibbles, scheduled to launch early next year.
Aardvark’s brand mission is to make pets planet-friendly through using sustainable insect protein in its food rather than animal meat.
The company says the environmental impact of pets to this day remains ‘a virtually untold story – with pets eating an estimated 20% of the world’s meat and being responsible for as much as a quarter of the damage associated with the meat industry’.
It claims its insect protein requires as little as 2% of the land area and 4% of the water per kg of protein compared with beef. Additionally, it is a hypoallergenic high-protein source, meaning it is well suited for pets with sensitive stomachs.
Aardvark founder Hugo Walters said: “I’m delighted by the level of investment we received via our Crowdcube round and to be able to bring Aardvark to pets across the UK.
“For too long pet owners like myself have been looking for sustainable food for their pets and we have been held back by the lack of alternatives to animal meat. Insect protein offers a viable solution that is both good for your pet and the planet. The overfunding will enable us to scale more quickly, with the aim of becoming the market leader for sustainable pet food in the UK.”
Crowdcube co-founder Luke Lang added: “With the spotlight on sustainability coupled with the increase in demand for pets since the pandemic, it was no surprise to see Aardvark attract so much deserved attention during their raise with Crowdcube. It’s fantastic to see a hefty 900 investors join them on their mission to make pet ownership sustainable.”
Starting with a range of dry kibbles for dogs and cats, Aardvark is set to launch early 2021 via subscription and standalone direct-to-consumer channels, with a view to move into pet food stores within eight months and supermarkets shortly after.