Real Grass Delivery with Fresh Patch

Shark Tank veteran Andrew Feld 03B tackles a common pet care problem.

By Michelle Valigursky

We all love our family pets, but most pet owners haven’t created a million dollar company to nurture their comfort. Andrew Feld 03B has – he launched Fresh Patch real grass delivery service that makes life easier for pets and their owners. The “Sharks” took note. On a recent episode of ABC’s Shark Tank, Feld received three funding offers and ultimately partnered with both Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban.  

The idea for Fresh Patch came to Feld after moving his family and cocker spaniel, Chloe, from a house with a backyard to a condo with a balcony. “Green space was at a premium,” he recalls. “I needed a better solution.”

After extensive research and product refinements, Fresh Patch was capable of being shipped on a national scale. Feld explains, “Our absorbent pads of living grass are lighter, cleaner, and last much longer than conventional sod. We offer a fully disposable pet toilet unit that incorporates living grass, as well as larger grass pads that can be placed in reusable trays." 

The company’s subscription delivery service provides customers with fresh disposable patches of living grass. “Fresh Patch uses hydroponically grown, dirt-free grass that absorbs liquids and controls odors naturally,” Feld explains. “Most importantly, there is no cleaning or maintenance needed for the disposable unit, because the entire unit is discarded and replaced with a new one."

Since 2010, the journey to grow Fresh Patch has been rewarding. “I started this company out of my car – delivering 10 to 15 Fresh Patches per week,” Feld writes. “It was hard at times, but my early customers kept me going. They told me how much they loved Fresh Patch and what a difference it made in their day-to-day lives. These early customers provided me with honest feedback – helping me figure out ways to improve the product and service over time.”

The Sharks Take a Bite

When his season six episode of Shark Tank aired in February (and re-aired in June), viewers learned that Feld accepted a $150,000 funding offer from sharks Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban for a 20% stake in his company. “Mr. Wonderful” Kevin O’Leary also offered to fund the company’s expansion. (Watch the video in this issue.)

Corcoran called Fresh Patch a “feel-good product.” QVC’s Lori Grenier said “I know the huge value in this. I think you’re just at the tip of the iceberg going to the east coast. I think that’s where you’re going to really ramp up huge. People don’t like to walk their dogs in the winter. I like that you priced it at a good price.” Cuban noted that the company “is a retail play in vertical cities, but I also see it as a tech play, which is most interesting to me.”  

With Corcoran’s expertise in retail and the pet space, and Cuban’s technology strengths, the decision on which venture partners to choose was clear for Feld. After accepting the offer he said, “I went with Mark and Barbara because they are the best two to help me make the important decisions I need with this company, with the website, and the branding, and just growing it to where it needs to be.”

Feld at Goizueta

Andy and Chloe stop by Goizueta.

More Q&A with Fresh Patch Founder Andrew Feld

EmoryWire: You've launched an innovative natural solution for millions of pet owners. How does Fresh Patch fulfill a need in pet care? 

Andrew Feld: Fresh Patch is an eco-friendly and stylish alternative to the synthetic house training products on the market. Pee pads and synthetic grass are often confusing to dogs. They instinctively want to use real grass so training them to use Fresh Patch is easy and intuitive. 

EW: What was it like to face the sharks in the tank?

AF: Shark Tank is as "real" of a reality show as it gets. You have one chance to pitch your product and you have no idea how the investors will react. Their questions and offers are fast-paced, and require on-the-spot responses and decisions. There are many risks, but the potential payoffs are great.

EW: Advice to other entrepreneurs ready to take on the sharks? 

AF: Make sure your business is ready and that you have proven the concept. Had I gone on the show without any sales I would have been laughed off the stage. The instant I mentioned that Fresh Patch had over $1 million in sales the sharks started to take me more seriously.

EW: What's next for Fresh Patch?

AF: Fresh Patch was originally designed for dogs but we’ve found customers are purchasing it for cats, rabbits, turtles, and even birds. We have a couple new products launching soon, and we are also getting more involved with dog rescue programs.

Fresh Patch Logo

Editor’s Note: For more details on domestic – and soon to be Australian – Fresh Patch delivery options, contact service@freshpatch.com.

www.freshpatch.ca www.freshpatch.com.au

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Michelle Valigursky