As Americans spend more on pets, businesses hope to cash in
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American spending on pets reached a record $55.7 billion last year, more than the GDP of Luxembourg. “If the pet industry were tracked by the U.S. government as a single entity, we’d be the seventh largest retail segment in the country,” says Bob Vetere, CEO of the American Pet Products Association, which released the spending figure in March. “It’s an attractive opportunity,” says Stuart Ellman, a managing partner at venture-capital firm RRE Ventures, which led funding rounds for the delivery service BarkBox. Ellman adds that it’s a recent development for Internet companies to target pet owners. Many of these new startups even mirror apps and services aimed at, well, people–from taxi service Uber to rental site Airbnb.