'A Wedding Registry' for Rescued Pets, Cuddly Raises $4M

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

'A Wedding Registry' for Rescued Pets, Cuddly Raises $4M

Long gone are the outdoor adoption events and bake sales where animal rescue groups collect donations and convince dog lovers to foster a new litter. It's moved online, and startup Cuddly is offering the SaaS platform and marketing to fundraise remotely.

"Like a wedding registry for pets," said founder and CEO John Hussey.

The Seal Beach-based fundraising platform for groups rescuing animals announced this week it's raised $4 million in a Series A funding round led by Lead Edge Capital.

Founded in 2014, the company sets up "wish lists" on behalf of rescue shelter groups. Donors can help pay for things like squeaky toys or canned food, which Cuddly buys wholesale to turn a profit. They also bring in revenue through a tip feature on the site.

The Cuddly app allows these partners to manage campaigns from their phones, uploading photos and videos of furry animals and later sending updates and thank you's to donors. They can also link their social channels to a Cuddly account, "so when they need to raise funds, they simply click one easy button to share within their communities," Hussey said.

Donors can contribute to feline medical bills or doggy medicine, and even browse pet adoption listings directly on the site. The company is for-profit but doesn't take a cut of donations.

Cuddly CEO John Hussey

Hussey said shelter groups saw a surge in animal adoptions when stay-at-home orders were put in place. And more people started fostering as the pandemic forced shelters to operate on skeleton crews. Most of those new companions won't be going back to the kennel.

"People really rallied and stepped up to clear animals out of shelters," he said. "In this pandemic the animals are actually winning."

Donating to animal welfare isn't something new, Hussey said. What's unique about his company is its model amasses an array of rescue groups from around the world into one site where animal lovers can pick and choose animals or groups to send funds and products.

Cuddly has fundraised from 300,000 donors and currently works with over 2,100 animal welfare nonprofits. The company plans to expand its 20-person team and ramp up marketing efforts.

Business is up 350% since last June, Hussey said.

With the fresh funding round Hussey wants to turn his attention to building up the site's content for animal rescue groups beefing up marketing and adding pet care tips for Cuddly donors, 60% of whom are pet owners.


Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

LA Venture: Fifth Wall's Dan Wenhold On Real Estate Technology Investing

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Venture: Fifth Wall's Dan Wenhold On Real Estate Technology Investing
Courtesy of LA Venture

On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, Fifth Wall partner Dan Wenhold talks about his role at the firm and shares some of the changes he’s seeing in real estate technology investing.

Read moreShow less

Convenience or Chaos? AI’s Role in Job Recruiting

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Convenience or Chaos? AI’s Role in Job Recruiting
Evan Xie

Staffing firm Robert Half (which operates numerous offices across Los Angeles, including Burbank, Irvine, Long Beach and Pasadena), parses through thousands of job applications a week.

Thomas Vick, regional director of technology for the company, said Robert Half has a database of over 30 million active job seekers, which is why lately it’s been using AI to sift through them all. Vick is one of many directors eager to explore AI’s capacity to streamline hiring as the technology becomes more mainstream.

Read moreShow less

No Chatbots in the Writer's Room. WGA Goes on Strike to Keep Hollywood Human

Lon Harris
Lon Harris is a contributor to dot.LA. His work has also appeared on ScreenJunkies, RottenTomatoes and Inside Streaming.
No Chatbots in the Writer's Room. WGA Goes on Strike to Keep Hollywood Human
Evan Xie

This is the web version of dot.LA’s daily newsletter. Sign up to get the latest news on Southern California’s tech, startup and venture capital scene.

On this week’s “Succession,” Roman Roy flew to Burbank and met with the head of Waystar Studios, pressing them to greenlight more IP-driven films from major franchises. In the show’s fictional alternate reality, Roy is reacting specifically to the looming failure of sleepy robot-themed sci-fi tentpole “Kalispitron,” and the desperate short-term need to artificially boost the company’s stock price. Still, the scene itself has strong roots in our current business landscape. With media, telecom, and tech companies having recently spent billions creating and selling consumers on shiny new streaming platforms, they now need to actually deliver the quality content they’ve spent the last few years promising and promoting.

Read moreShow less