Hertfordshire-based natural pet care brand HOWND has secured a £50,000 funding package from NatWest to progress its growth plans and launch a new product.
Company founders Mark Hirschel and Jo Amit have used the finance to support new product development. The company will launch its first ever pet accessory, the HERO Bowl, an antimicrobial food and water bowl, at the end of the year.
HOWND provides a range of UK-made, natural and vegan pet hygiene products, which are certified by Cruelty Free International and accredited by the Ethical Company Organisation. It has also recently launched its new Hemp Wellness Treats, a range of baked biscuits, which are 100 percent vegetarian and made in Devon.
The company was founded in 2015 after entrepreneurs Hirschel and Amit recognised a growing demand for ethical pet products. The pair joined NatWest’s Entrepreneur Accelerator Programme, formerly known as Entrepreneurial Spark, in 2017. The business was also supported by NatWest entrepreneur development manager Chris Kettle and relationship manager Manveer Degun.
HOWND has grown organically by more than 20 percent year-on-year and are now preparing to expand. The company is looking to raise a further £300,000 of investment through a mix of angel investors and crowdfunding later this year, with the funds being used to drive consumer awareness, new product innovation, enhanced retailer merchandising, and the creation of up to five new jobs in the next 12 months. HOWND is also the company behind Bring Your Dog To Work Day, an annual event which helps raise funds for animal rescue and re-homing charities.
Hirschel said: “The HOWND brand has grown considerably in the last three years. As the market for natural pet products expands, there is significant potential for future growth. Being a part of NatWest’s accelerator programme has been a key factor in our current success. It gave us access to comprehensive coaching and invaluable financial support. Over the next 12 months, we have ambitions to diversify our product range. This will enable us to continue to provide the most innovative, natural and ethically sourced pet products on the market.”
Sharad Varma, business growth enabler, NatWest added: “NatWest’s accelerator programme supports passionate entrepreneurs like Mark and Jo. It provides access to mentors, investors and advisors, as well as financial support. HOWND has proven it has what it takes to succeed, with a product and brand which is truly unique.”