This 22-yr-old woman entrepreneur wants to bring pet-care services to the doorstep

Have you heard of the “pandemic puppy”? Or better still, are you one of those who got one?

With the lockdowns leading to loneliness, many turned to pet adoptions amid the pandemic. The spike in global interest in pet adoption, particularly for dogs, even inspired researchers to embark on a study on what happens to these animals when pet owners returned to the office post an extended work-from-home ritual. The study noted that there are chances that pets may experience separation anxiety or be relegated to shelter homes when owners are no longer working from home.

Besides the abandonment of pets, another aspect of the study discussed was the shortage of veterinary care during the pandemic, which may have impacted the welfare of the animals.

Aanandi Sardana, a newly-minted graduate from the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, Canada, returned to India for some time during the pandemic and saw many people around her adopting pets.

“I saw that some of my close friends and family, and many others seemed to either have a dog or a cat. There were also a lot of first-time pet parents because of the lockdown. And, one major problem they were facing was someone trustworthy to call when their pet was unwell,” Aanandi tells HerStory.

After pondering a little deeper into their concerns, and looking at the market, she realised that the unorganised nature of the veterinary services industry had left pet parents searching in the dark for basic needs like grooming, training, and medical services.

Turning down corporate offers, the 22-year-old graduate decided to give entrepreneurship a try and establishment Pet Set Pawa platform to book at-home service appointments for pets.

Digitization of pet services

“With digitisation accelerating, it was surprising to see that there was no such service for this segment in India. During my four-year-long stay in Canada, I saw that this kind of digital pet care service was already commonplace, and had been so for at least eight or nine years. This prompted me to go out and meet more pet parents, as well as visit veterinary clinics and pet adoption centres, and talk to people involved to find out how exactly this gap can be bridged. That’s how Pet Set Paw came about,” the founder explains.

In January 2021, when she returned to Canada to resume her studies, Aanandi began the groundwork for the platform. She contacted research trainers, vets, and groomers, building a network of service providers in the Delhi-NCR region.

By September of that year, the website was ready and the startup was already onboarded a bunch of verified services providers, and rolled out the services for customers across the capital region as a pilot project.

A one-woman army, Aanandi says she received some initial financial help from her father, who also advises her on the company’s operational aspects.

“I am working with very limited resources, and right now, I just want to make sure that there is market validation and a product-market fit, and that people can actually resonate with the platform we are trying to create. Our website uses Google Forms to understand client requirements when they make an enquiry, and we take it from there. Most of our client acquisition is happening through Facebook and Google ads right now,” she explains.

A dog training service at a pet owner’s home. Many pet owners prefer dog trainers to visit their homes to train their pets.

How it works

Pet Set Paw’s doorstep services are charged based on distance, and the kind of service required. For example, vet consultations can cost anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 700with additional charges for medicines/vaccinations, grooming and training.

The platform provides two types of grooming services—at-home grooming service and grooming truck.

For at-home grooming services, a team of two groomers visit the site with all the required equipment and clean up once the job is done. The price ranges between Rs 800 and Rs 2,000 for this service.

Users can also opt for a grooming truck service, where a grooming team visits the pet’s house equipped with all the equipment and saves the pet parent the hassle of providing space, water etc. The price ranges from Rs 1,600 to Rs 4,000—depending on the size of the pet, duration, and the type of grooming service.

While Pet Set Paw does not charge service providers to get onboarded on the platform, it does charge a 15 percent commission for every service provided.

Market scenario

According to ‘India Pet Care Market Outlook, 2025’ report by Bonafide Research, the Indian pet care market is expected to reach Rs 5,457 crore by the end of 2025, registering a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 19 percent.

Widespread digital adoption and a rise in the number of pet parents have led to more entrepreneurs exploring innovative business models in this segment. Pet Set Paw’s competitors include Doggie the App, Fur Ball Story, Wiggles, and more.

On her startup’s differentiating factor, Aanandi remarks,

“With Pet Set Paw, I am not trying to build a brand; I am here to build a marketplace for pet services—something that’s scalable and something that can be pan-India soon. I want to put together a marketplace where all these brands come together to make it easier for pet parents.”

Ever since going live in September last year, Pet Set Paw says that the demand from pet parents across the Delhi-NCR region has grown, except for a brief dip during the peak Omicron outbreak.

The company recently started its operations in Mumbai as well, and clocked nearly 150 customers in the last few months, with a 51 percent retention rateaccording to Aanandi, who wants to aim for an ambition 10 percent growth rate every week in terms of users.

As a solo woman entrepreneur, Aanandi admits there are challenges to overcome. “Since I hail from Delhi, it was easier to find my way around there. Starting our operations in Mumbai was a whole different ball game, and I plan to soon expand to Bengaluru as well. Just finding the right service providers at these locations, setting up meetings with them, and onboarding them takes time and a lot of effort.”

After Bengaluru, the young entrepreneur wants to expand to other metros including Chennai and Kolkata, and move to Tier II and III cities like Amritsar, Baroda, Pune, and places in the northeast.

“I think I have got the validation that I’m on the right path. I’m going to give it the next few years and see how it comes along. I feel like this is the right age for me to give entrepreneurship a try,” she concludes.