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Posted on July 12, 2018 by staff

Entrepreneur’s mission to create ‘Netflix for pets’

Entrepreneur’s mission to create ‘Netflix for pets’

MusicforPets CEO Amman Ahmed
MusicforPets CEO Amman Ahmed

The man behind a tech start-up which makes relaxing music and TV for cats and dogs has said he wants to become the Netflix for pets – or ‘Petflix’.

Amman Ahmed is the CEO of Manchester-based MusicforPets, whose online content is aimed at relaxing cats and dogs and receives an average of 10 million views a month.

The 31-year-old estimates that cats and dogs around the world are now consuming a total of 500 years of content every month through his RelaxMyDog and RelaxMyCat channels.

The self-funded company was originally called Roundwave when it was created in 2012 to help with pet issues such as separation anxiety, hyperactivity and boredom.

The idea came about when the company’s co-founder Ricardo Henriquez found that his dog Zuki suffered from noise anxiety from the sounds of gun violence in the local neighbourhood of El Salvador where he lived.

Ahmed had previously done some research on music therapy for pets and Henriquez tested some sample music on Zuki with amazing results.

“That was the eureka moment,” Ahmed said. “I saw that there was a gap in the market for a natural solution to pets’ emotional issues.

“Everything else for anxiety was just products or medication, and we thought ‘why don’t we try something natural?’ rather than people buying thunder jackets or spending a lot of money on medication or herbal remedies.

“Why can’t we be that solution where people just press play?”

RelaxMyDog and RelaxMyCat are available through YouTube, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, iPhone, android and every music streaming service from Apple Music to Tidal.

People can either get the content for free with adverts or use the Spotify-type model of getting advert –free content through a paid for subscription.

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Ahmed said the business can continue to do well through advertising but said growing a strong subscription side offers more choice to consumers.

“The subscription side is something that we’ve built – people pay £4.99 a month, and that’s the area of the business that we’re now growing purely because we don’t want to be a business that’s 100 per cent reliant on advertising revenue, we just want to expand a hell of a lot quicker,” he said.

“We want the subscription side to be just as big as our advertising side.”

As well as focusing on building viewer numbers by looking at social media algorithms, Ahmed cites fan engagement as a key reason for his company’s success.

“To this day, we spend most of our time engaging with our fanbase and generating genuine conversations because that’s what we want to do, we want to build as many friendships as we can with our fanbase, and that’s something that we’re going to continue doing,” he said.

“I think one of the key things is validation, people are very emotionally attached to their pets, if the music works they’re super keen to tell other people, so word of mouth and making people part of the community is essential.”

Ahmed hopes to expand his 11-strong team over the coming year to 15. The team are based in Manchester, India and El Salvador.

His long-term vision for the business is to be the go-to company for every cat and dog owner.

“I want to be looked at as PetFlix, as the Netflix for pets,” he said. “I don’t want to go into numbers, but that’s pretty much where I want to be.”

Ahmed says he’s taken the lessons learned from his previous music video app business Rormix into his new venture.

Rormix curated unsigned and indie music and built a base of 150,000 users a month. It attracted £250,000 in funding and was recognised as a Rising Star in the 2015 Northern Tech Awards but Ahmed eventually wound it down.

“Rormix was an incredible learning experience for me,” he said. “You learn from your mistakes. When you are pitching for funding it’s easy to take your eye off the business. That’s not going to happen with MusicforPets because we’re self-funded and very profitable.”