Anna Skaya created Base Paws to make more information available to cat owners about their cat's genetic background. She's helped found several start-ups in the past, so she's no stranger to amping up a company. DNA test kits for humans became widely available several years ago. Test kits for dogs and cats are now appearing from several companies. Base Paws seeks to be the leader in the cat DNA testing space – with the help of a Shark.
Base Paws is easy to use. You simply take a small fur sample and cheek swab from your cat and send it in with the $95 payment. At the Base Paws lab in Los Angeles, they use the hair follicle to find the DNA code for your kitty. What you can expect to learn is where your cat's ancestry hails from. They cross-reference 32 cat breeds and 14 wild cat breeds to give you a look at your cat's ancestry.
The company also finds any genetic issues that could affect your cat. For instance, it will tell you how at risk your pet is of developing a genetic disease. Certain breeds are more susceptible to certain diseases, but they all don't necessarily contract a given disease. Base Paws will give you insight there. The big picture for the company is they are establishing a world-wide cat DNA database so owners can match their cats with similar cats and track any genetic/breed specific issues.
It's a bold initiative. There are other kits out there for testing cat (and dog) DNA, but Base Paws is rapidly becoming both a market leader and pet owner favorite. They's like to keep the momentum going – with a Shark's help.
My Take on Base Paws
I don't own a cat, so I am not a customer. If they ever do dog DNA, I'd be in. There are other cat DNA test kits out there, but Base Paws' ancestry information and their database sets them apart. Even though they've only been around a short time, they established themselves as the leader in the field. Simply put, their test tells you more than the others.
What struck me is the database. Human DNA test companies came under a lot of scrutiny in the last year due to privacy concerns. If a human DNA testing company had a database like BasePaws does, there would be a HUGE outcry. Luckily, cats don't care about online privacy. Personally, I'd love to see them give such a complete report about dogs. Maybe a Shark can help this company diversify.
Will Sharks Take the Test?
Anna seems to have her ducks (er cats) in a row. She's not a fly by night operator. When she taped, some of the features listed above (like ancestry tracing) were not available. They are now. I hope she explains the rollout of new features well, or else it could spell trouble.
The Sharks know all about testing. Mark Cuban invested $200,000 in DNA Simple back in season 9. That deal hasn't closed yet, but it shows the Sharks, or at least Mark, recognize the value of DNA sampling. If the valuation is fair and sales are good and growing, I at least expect Mark to bid. The other Sharks may bid too, but look for Mark to do a deal with BasePaws.