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London Tech Week

Marleybones fetches £900K in seed funding to unleash Pantry Fresh dog food brand

Josephine, Mikala & Marley (Marleybones founders)
Co-founders Josephine, Mikala & Marley. Image credits; Marleybones

For most dog owners, the phrase ‘man’s best friend’ barely scratches the surface of the profound connection they share with their canine companions. The symbiotic relationship between humans and dogs is believed to stretch back at least 15,000 years, and some evidence suggests it could extend as far as 33,000 years. It’s no surprise that the average dog owner doesn’t view their loyal companions as mere pets; rather, they consider them cherished members of the family.

The deep bond between people and their dogs drives them to go to great lengths to ensure their furry family members lead healthy, joyful lives. Given the relatively short lifespan of dogs, pet owners strive to maximize their well-being. Nutrition plays a pivotal role in achieving this goal, just as it does for humans. Providing high-quality, balanced meals is an act of love that contributes to a longer, happier journey together.

With an innovative approach to making dog food healthier while also convenient, Marleybones, renowned for its pantry fresh solution, has just announced the closing of a £900k seed funding round. The investment was led by JamJar Investments, the venture capital firm established by the founders of Innocent Drinks, with additional support from Active Partners, known for backing consumer brands like Soho House and Rapha.

Revolutionising dog nutrition

Marleybones stands out as a female-founded gourmet food and treat brand dedicated to providing dogs with the nutritional benefits of a home-cooked diet in a convenient, pantry-friendly format. Their pantry fresh meals offer a unique blend of quality and convenience, meticulously crafted to meet the dietary needs of modern dogs while aligning with the demands of contemporary lifestyles.

Addressing a personal need

Josephine Rode Bager and Mikala Skov, the co-founders of Marleybones, were inspired to launch the brand out of personal frustration with the limited options available for Josephine’s own dog, Marley. Their commitment to bridging the gap between quality and convenience led to the development of pantry fresh meals, eliminating the need for costly and environmentally unfriendly frozen food subscriptions.

Innovative Pantry Fresh technology

Marleybones’ pantry fresh meals leverage innovative packaging technology similar to TetraPak liners, ensuring shelf stability while preserving the freshness and nutritional integrity of the ingredients. This approach reflects Marleybones’ dedication to sustainability and quality in every aspect of their product offering.

Driving growth and expansion

Since its inception in 2020, Marleybones has experienced rapid growth, reaching £1 million in annual sales through direct-to-consumer channels and earning an impressive 4.8 out of five rating on Trustpilot. The infusion of seed funding will fuel the brand’s expansion efforts, enabling Marleybones to broaden its online presence, expand its retail footprint, and enhance its team to better serve its growing customer base.

A vision for the future

Josephine Bager, co-founder of Marleybones, expressed excitement about the investment’s potential to further the brand’s mission of promoting the health and happiness of dogs. “Marleybones is driven by our founding mission of making dogs healthier and happier. This investment will allow us to continue delivering on that promise and caring for more dogs than ever before. Having seen the benefits on my own dog Marley, and the customers we’re lucky enough to serve, we’re excited about what this investment unlocks for our community.”

Mikala Skov echoed this sentiment, emphasising the importance of partnerships with industry leaders in advancing Marleybones’ vision of making fresh dog food accessible to all. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have partnered with industry leaders in veterinary care and category-defining consumer brands. Their support and investment will help us take the next leap forward in making fresh dog food more accessible and further our mission of improving the lives of dogs.”

Industry recognition

Richard Reed, founder of JamJar Investments and Innocent Drinks, lauded Marleybones’ innovative approach to dog nutrition and expressed confidence in the brand’s potential to revolutionise the pet food industry. “We are delighted to join forces with Marleybones at this exciting stage in their journey as a brand. Marleybones’ innovative approach to dog nutrition – pantry fresh dog food – masterfully blends the superior quality of fresh ingredients with the ease of traditional dog food offerings. We’re thrilled to be supporting Mikala, Josephine, and their expanding team in introducing their nutritious and convenient dog food to an increasing group of dogs, pet parents and retailers over the coming months and years.”

The funding round attracted a stellar lineup of investors, including a group of esteemed veterinarians from Animal Health Angels, tech unicorn founders, digital marketing experts, and consumer specialists.

Marleybones’ achievement as a female-founded startup in securing significant VC funding underscores its commitment to fostering inclusivity and diversity within the entrepreneurial landscape.

As Marleybones continues to disrupt the dog food market with its pantry fresh solution, the brand remains driven by its unwavering dedication to canine health and well-being.

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