More than 20 professional athletes across AFL, soccer, rugby league and cricket – including newly crowned World Cup champion Alyssa Healy – are the latest to invest in online pet supply store Pet Circle, which recently became Australia’s largest tech unicorn valued at more than $1bn.
Healy, who scored 170 in Australia’s World Cup final win over England, invested in Pet Circle with husband and fellow cricket star Mitchell Starc. She said the company was instantly appealing as an investment, given how regularly the couple shopped on its online platform.
“When the opportunity to invest in Pet Circle came up, we jumped at it as we shop with them all the time,” she said.
“You need to believe in the company you are investing in, and Pet Circle’s vision to improve the lives of pets and pet parents through greater product choice and better services really resonated with us as dog parents.”
Starc added: “The pet industry is booming and Pet Circle is at the top of its game, so we also see huge growth potential in the business,” Starc added.
“Like many Aussie families, we have a very busy schedule, so shopping for pet supplies needs to be easy and convenient and online retail is where the opportunity lies.”
Other athletes who have invested include cricketers Moises Henriques and Rachael Haynes, AFL players Toby Greene, Phil Davis, Josh Kelly and Taylor Adams, NRL players Cam Murray and Angus Crichton, and soccer player Stefan Mauk.
They made the investments through Athletic Ventures, an investment syndicate for former and current elite athletes founded by GWS Giants midfielder Matt de Boer.
Other investors to back Pet Circle’s recent funding round include Prysm Capital, TDM Growth Partners, Baillie Gifford and AirTree Ventures.
“Athletic Ventures invests in world-class, high-growth technology and consumer companies so as an e-commerce disrupter Pet Circle was a company that we wanted to be a part of,” de Boer said.
Pet Circle co-founder and chief executive Mike Frizell said the Athletic Ventures investment, which formed part of Pet Circle’s Series C $125m funding round, would be used to accelerate Pet Circle’s growth plans, including a 24-hour Vet Squad service.
“We’re excited to have a group of great Australian athletes, many who are pet parents, join our Pet Circle family. Just like these athletes, we want to be the best in the field and we’ll do this by providing outstanding pet services and supplies,” he said.
“We’ve already started by expanding our free Vet Squad advice service to be available 24/7 to improve the knowledge and education of our customers.
“We’ve also expanded our warehouse footprint to range even more products and provide faster delivery, including moving to a bigger location in Perth in December and opening a new Brisbane warehouse last month, adding to our Sydney and Melbourne distribution centres.
“This puts us well on track for our rapid expansion and we’re looking forward to launching new offerings to help more Aussie pet parents pet better over the coming year.”