Featured Startup Pitch: Health food for pets: Barker Kitsen brings specialized pet brands to the masses

By Editor October 14, 2014
Barker Kitsen founders Candace and Mike Dannenbaum.

Barker Kitsen founders Candace and Mike Dannenbaum.

By Candace Dannenbaum, Barker Kitsen co-founder and CEO


Barker Kitsen is a discovery platform for urban pet parents to discover under-the-radar brands, new services and ultimate experiences.


Barker Kitsen is a resource—a dog lover’s guide to find the best under-the-radar products, newest services, and fun experiences in their city. The discovery ecommerce platform connects in-demand and undiscovered small businesses with pet parents who seek innovative, high-quality, socially responsible pet products through a wide range of curated partnerships with top suppliers of specialized brands. The company’s mission is to help quality-minded pet owners make superior product choices to keep their pets healthy and happy, while giving emerging and unknown brands national exposure as a distribution source for their products. Besides helping pet lovers discover a wide range of products created by boutique brands originating from the top pet-friendly cities across the U.S. and Canada, Barker Kitsen also helps pet owners discover the best pet-friendly ways to experience their city by uncovering services and businesses catering to our four legged best friends.


I left my career in finance to pursue my first startup, Barker Kitsen. This company was inspired by one of my three dogs, Toby, who almost lost his life due to poor nutrition from commercial pet products. I started my journey obsessively researching pet products, and therefore the pet industry in 2010 in an attempt to save his life. After months of searching, I eventually found these emerging organic products at multiple boutique stores and nursed him back to health!

The hunt for better products continues to be an ongoing process for me. Consumers demand and hunt down the best products they can find, but the structure of the pet industry, dominant manufacturers and bottle-necked distribution poses real challenges in those efforts. I started Barker Kitsen to change this from a product, service and experience perspective.

BarkerKitsen products


The community of pet parents is very tight knit and word-of-mouth is paramount for us. We are employing a grassroots effort utilizing targeted social media marketing, creating relevant content and reaching our audience through weekly city-specific newsletters.


The natural market is the fastest growing market within the $58 billion pet industry. There has also been an explosion in the pet care and service space. Businesses are either being created or evolving and becoming pet friendly.

Although there is not a like-for-like competitor out there, from the commerce/product side, our competitors are Barkbox, local boutiques, and Amazon.com. However, from the content side, we don’t believe we have a direct competitor.

BarkerKitsen editorial


Our product set has been curated to include only the highest-quality products made by small businesses that often don’t have national reach. All of the treats are human-grade quality. On the content side, our original content that targets and engages a young urban demographic with city-specific experiences and services is the only thing like it out there.


Commerce that targets a defined, niche demographic. Targeted local and national content that engages readers and blends in commerce…this will ultimately incorporate targeted advertising.


We are opening an Angel/Seed round of funding to be able to expand our offerings both from a commerce and content standpoint. We are looking for an executive editor and head of customer acquisition.

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BarkerKitsen logoHEADQUARTERS: San Francisco

WEBSITE: www.barkerkitsen.com

FOUNDERS: Candace Dannenbaum, Mike Dannenbaum

INVESTORS: Bootstrapped


ANGELLIST: angel.co/barker-kitsen

TWITTER: @barkerkitsen

LINKEDIN: linkedin.com/company/3841303

INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/barkerkitsen

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/barkerkitsen