I love to picture the early day conversations that led to PetMio in a style similar to Oceans 11, complete with the careful assembly of skilled team members to storm the casino. Instead of a casino, however, this team will infiltrate the pet food industry.
Maybe not quite as flashy, but the result will improve your pet’s quality of life and nutrition.
Before PetMio, Pedro Moras was the lead in a product innovation group at a Fortune 500 company developing exciting new businesses.
While learning inside of a very large corporation was “fun”, he always knew he needed to branch out and launch a business that made an impact.
The Data Scientist
Steve O. Hernandez, PhD. and Pedro go way back from their time as undergrad and graduate students at Nova Southeastern University. Incredibly talented for all things tech, his big brain goes toe-to-toe with computers in the realms of Big Data and Computer Science.
With experience in both software and hardware, and equipped with a sharp business mind, he would prove an invaluable asset to creating PetMio.
Passionate and brilliant, Dr. Arlianne Velez packs a powerful two-punch in meeting the physical and emotional needs of her deserving four-legged patients. Early in her career, she recognized that she had to be one-part veterinarian and two-parts detective to get the information she needed to properly care for the pets. She toiled with ideas to make that process easier for everyone.
She also plays another important role in her life as Pedro’s wife, marrying him in December of 2016.
Starting Out | What Is Our Heist?
The trio of young experts knew they wanted to innovate in the pet industry, using their shared passion for animals and a deep desire to improve the pet parent experience.
There were a few early ideas the team vetted through. With Arlianne as a vet, some ideas started with improving vets’ experiences in mind.
However, collecting data for a vet is not enough, Pedro thought, he also wanted to deliver a solution to the pet parent and pet.
Thinking of this triad of “stakeholders” – the pet, pet parent, and vet – Pedro and Steve took a deep dive studying the pet food industry.
“The more we dug into the state of the pet food industry,” Pedro said, “the more disturbed we got.”
The Pet Food Industry | Our Casino
Their revelation was unsettling: They found that the way the food we routinely feed our pets is created completely backwards.
As a human, if we want a better diet we can simply go to a nutritionist and get back to basics. The nutritionist will run some tests, collect vitals, and consider your personal health goals to tailor a meal plan specific to your needs.
In the pet food industry, however, this is not the case. Dogs and cats are often put into a bucket based on weight and age, and are given the same thing day after day. Individuality is ignored with pets treated the same way as other “similar” pets. A situation you and I would never accept is a daily reality for our furry friends.
This research led to the concept that personalized health and nutrition is the best way to go for a pet.
Technology with a Purpose
So how do we create personalized food? What dictates ingredients?
We couldn’t ask a vet for the necessary information; that doctor doesn’t see your pet enough to properly give daily nutrition. We also couldn’t ask the pet parent to fill out a survey enough to give us accurate, timely information.
“We needed to remove subjectivity from the data, it simply cannot be human-generated,” Steve noted.
Technology became the next logical option. There are other pet activity trackers in the market, which provide some data and graphs, but the reports generated are not actionable.
“Your dog took [number] steps today” – perfect…now what?
They noticed these products fall short of delivering a solution. Many solely deliver data, claiming to “empower” users to do something but don’t deliver the solution directly. “Your dog burned fewer calories today,” translates to you having to regulate calories to prevent weight gain in your dog.
Delivering personalized food is a solution. Steve, Pedro, and Arlianne decided to utilize tech to create the clean data needed for accurate, customized food.
Food Science | The Missing Link
“Kas is an interesting fella,” Pedro chuckles. He met Kasra Farsad while working in his corporate job when looking for expert input on other projects.
Bellied by his surfer-guy persona and easy California address, Kas has a brilliant problem-solving mind. His hard-won expertise in food science offered Pedro, Steve, and Arlianne their missing link for PetMio.
It is a testament to how well Kas fit into the team that he came on board so quickly. Steve and Pedro vet people almost mercilessly, challenging solutions offered by supposed experts and finding faulty logic in the past.
“I am uncomfortable with how much I love this guy,” Steve joked after his first phone call with Kas.
And they weren’t disappointed. Kas immediately added value to the team – spearheading patent efforts and procuring organic, human-grade, all-natural ingredients. He also worked with Steve to take the data and ingredients and deliver the best dog food and the best cat food for the fur babies in PetMio.
With a cast rivaled by the likes of Oceans 11, the gang is ready to move and break into the pet food industry.
We’ve got our inspiring CEO, our passionate vet, our brainy data guy, our surfer dude who happens to be a bit of a genius. And then there’s me, your friendly neighborhood digital marketer.