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Writing about the startup ecosystem, we’ve often heard the saying, “fundraise before you need it”.

Heeding this advice is homegrown brand Notti Pet Food (Notti), who just recently bagged seven-figure funds from 500 Global and First Move.

While Notti wasn’t facing severe bottlenecks, Ke Yee shared that the investment has empowered the business to accelerate their growth and match the vision she has for the startup.

And that vision has always been to go beyond borders, bringing their pet foods to a global audience. To make this leap, they need advanced equipment, a larger and more skilled team, and a stronger marketing strategy. These are all things fresh funds can help achieve.

But it’s not just casting the net wider, it’s about delving deeper to elevate the quality of their offerings to meet international standards.

This is a great example of why you should fundraise before you need it, as it becomes less of a reactive thing, but rather an intentional one.

Putting yourself out there

500 Global and First Move are no small names. The former barely needs an introduction in the startup world, but for the uninitiated, it’s an established multistage investment firm.

First Move is a little greener, but has already made quite an impact in the scene. Focused on early-stage startups, the firm was created by Fave founder Joel Neoh and Audra Pakalnyte, the former head of FavePay Later.

Image Credit: Notti Pet Food

So, how did a new company like Notti, which was only established last April, attract their attention and secure their funds?

Ke Yee’s answer is simple: serendipity.

It started when she made a comment on a post by Amanda, the Associate Director of Investments at 500 Global, discussing the potential of the pet industry.  

On the other hand, Audra from First Move had previously sent her a simple message on LinkedIn suggesting a casual meetup to learn more about what they were doing during Notti’s early days. Just goes to show that LinkedIn truly serves as a platform that democratises networking and valuable connections.

“What began as casual interactions quickly evolved into substantial partnerships,” she said. “We secured this deal just two weeks after we started working on it, demonstrating how powerful even a small action can be.”

A deal is a two-way street, of course, which means the partnership must make sense on Notti’s end too.  

For Ke Yee, the reason to go with 500 Global and First Move is because of their global reach and strategic impact. The partnerships have opened Notti up to extensive networks, providing access to a team of relevant professionals.

Image Credit: Notti Pet Food

“With their investment in Notti, a company just nine months old at the time, was a strong vote of confidence from established players in the industry,” the founder pointed out.

“This support and affirmation from such reputable firms are incredibly motivating and validate our potential in the market.”

Improving the lives of pets

Holding a bachelor’s degree in Food Science with Nutrition, Ke Yee previously worked in other organic food companies, working passionately to improve people’s health.

Through Notti, she’s now leveraging her expertise to improve pets’ health as well.

“Personally, I am also a pet owner with both a dog and a cat, and I’ve always been focused on improving their lives, from selecting the best kibbles to finding the highest quality treats,” she explained.

Image Credit: Notti Pet Food

However, Ke Yee felt that none of the products on the market truly met her standards or the needs of her pets.

She was motivated to fill that gap in the pet food market, particularly in Southeast Asia where she said many products contain unhealthy ingredients like unnecessary grains and low-quality meats.  

What Notti is offering, instead, is high-quality, slow-baked kibbles cooked at 90 degrees Celsius to ensure better nutrient retention.

According to Ke Yee, they only use fresh, human-grade meat, which makes the kibbles exceptionally palatable and ideal for picky eaters.

Image Credit: Notti Pet Food

The product development at Notti Pet Food is led by Ke Yee and Sarah Koay, the product manager.

“Despite the crowded pet food market, we focus on creating solutions that genuinely solve problems for pet owners,” Ke Yee said.

Their approach starts by identifying specific pet concerns, such as fur quality, tear stains, or allergies. From there, they source for the best ingredients and raw materials to address the concerns.

Aside from the actual kibble, Notti aims to enhance the overall pet ownership experience through community engagement through their own “Communotti“.

This community platform will allow pet owners to connect, share experiences, and support each other on their journey toward providing the best care for their beloved pets.

Grooming the future

By the end of the year, Notti aims to establish 200 touchpoints in Malaysia while deepening their market penetration in other countries. The young company is already present in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

Ke Yee also revealed that they will be launching a new product line, aligning with their vision of catering to a variety of dietary needs and preferences.

Going forward, Notti plans to invest in research and development to create cutting-edge formulas that optimise pet health and well-being.

“From advanced nutritional formulations tailored to specific dietary needs to innovative feeding solutions designed for convenience and efficiency, we aim to stay at the forefront of pet nutrition and care,” she said.

Image Credit: Notti Pet Food

As for the long-term goals, Notti hopes to foster a global community of pet owners who share their values and commitment to provide the best care for their pets.

“We envision a future where every pet has access to nutritious and sustainable food and services contributing to their longevity and overall quality of life,” Ke Yee said.

With that core mission, as well as the invaluable support of 500 Global and First Move, Notti appears primed for global expansion, and perhaps even domination.

Editor’s Update: Parts of this article have been edited to reflect greater accuracy.

  • Learn more about Notti Pet Food here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about funding here.

Featured Image Credit: Notti Pet Food

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