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Just Go Grind

Dec 19, 2022

Dan Schaefer is the Co-Founder and CEO of Native Pet, a pet nutrition company that is redefining pet supplements by harnessing the nutritional power of whole food ingredients to deliver organic, highly effective, & limited ingredient treats, supplements and chews.

Their products utilize whole-food and superfood ingredients to harness the healing powers found in nature to bolster the health and well-being of our pets. When Dan was looking for better nutrition for his Labrador retriever, Louie, he found that brands were really missing the mark. He quickly realized that kibble was base nutrition and if he wanted to customize Louie's diet for his own unique needs, he required a tailored regimen of kibble coupled with supplements. In an effort to make this realization a reality, Dan called on his childhood friend, Pat Barron, who had a similar passion for pets, food systems and entrepreneurship and together, they founded Native Pet in 2017. In March 2022, they closed their $6M Series A funding led by CAVU Venture Partners with participation from Mars' Companion Fund and Selva Ventures.

Topics Covered by Dan Schaefer in this Episode


  • How becoming a pet parent led Dan to found Native Pet
  • Dan and his co-founder Pat Barron's entrepreneurial experience and graveyard of startup ideas
  • Why Native Pet became the right business idea for them to pursue
  • Finding market opportunity through product differentiation
  • R&D: market research, product testing, and when to leverage experts
  • Finding the right co-manufacturing partner for quality, mission-alignment, and growth
  • Brand-building while developing innovative product
  • Launching on Amazon, how their distribution and marketing tactics have evolved, and going against the grain
  • The strategy behind deciding to raise venture capital
  • Use of funds through several stages of fundraising
  • How they’ve seen the pet category evolve since their launch 5 years ago
  • What’s next for Native Pet

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