Pet Circle


Helping pets by finding problems and solving them for pet parents.
Key Takeaways
  • Valued at over $1 billion on a capital raising of $125 million completed in November 2021
  • Founded in 2011 by Michael Frizell and James Edwards
  • Online pet goods shop has a product range of almost 14,000 items
dog sits in cardboard box in living room space

Where has Michael Frizell put the $125 million Pet Circle raised at the end of last year? For a start, you can now get dog food that specifically caters for your pug’s dodgy jaw, and your Italian greyhound need never tolerate an ill-fitting coat on its bony frame again.  

The online pet goods shop has more than doubled its product range to almost 14,000 items.  “Our plans are always the same,” says Frizell, 40, who co-founded the company in 2011. “We want to help pet parents to pet better. Find anything that’s stopping them doing the right thing for their pet and remove that problem.”

 Covid created plenty of new problems for removal.

“It’s March 2020. There’s a lot of fear around. People aren’t as comfortable going to the vet for minor questions. We saw a need. Our customers wanted to be able to ask questions from the safety of their own home. So we launched a 24-hour vet advice service and now we have 35 vets delivering that to our customers for free.”

“The other problem we saw coming in March 2020, we knew looking ahead that e-commerce was going to become a bigger part of the economy and that the drivers, the vehicles and the logistics fleet weren’t there for that change.”

On 12 March 2020 Frizell and Edwards decided to switch the busienss to working from home. Four days later they decided to build their own logistics network. “Because we knew, if it plays out like we think it will, delivery is going to be bad. By August when the logistics network was getting bottlenecked, we leant in and built the fleet across six cities. So, by getting in early we had good access to drivers and vehicles.”

Frizell resists taking too much satisfaction from having made such a good call.

“The one we got wrong at the same time was that I didn’t realise how much of a pet population boom was about to happen. We didn’t adjust for more pets in the country. We’re still living in a world where it’s hard to get consistent supply. There isn’t enough manufacturing capacity.”

 Frizell was born in Zimbabwe and the family moved to Australia in 1988 when he was five. “My dad always had businesses. He was one of the first people to bring electronics into the country. He built digital alarm clocks. He started building computers. So I grew up around the concept of being able to create anything in an entrepreneurial environment. I spent my weekends between five and 12 playing in the back of a warehouse as my dad built his business. My mum is an accountant and lecturer. So I’m half of each of them.”

Frizell studied electrical and mechanical engineering but went into management consulting and investment banking. He was back home visiting his parents in Perth in 2010 when he noticed a 4kg bag of dog food on the kitchen shelf for their 46kg golden retriever, George. “Why are you buying that?” he asked. “It’s twice the price of a big bag.”

But his dad had a bad back, so lugging a 20kg bag from the shop was out of the question.

“I got the idea there’s something wrong with this industry,” says Frizell. “We weren’t the first people in the market. There were half a dozen players already. The difference with us was we weren’t selling pet products. We were finding problems and solving them … We launched with a subscription service on day one. I think we were the second in the world to have subscription pet food. We stayed focused. Find a problem a pet owner has. Get rid of it.”