June 12, 2020


Tracking the Pet Tech Industry


4 New Pet Products Funded to the Tune of $770,000 on Kickstarter (pet startups)

A handful of new pet products have been successfully funded on Kickstarter this month.

Aimicat, a smart litter box, has raised a whopping $670,793 from 2,242 backers. The device has an infra-red sensor that detects when kitty is done with her business and then disposes the used litter into a separate tray. A filter and air system remove any odors.

Not sure the product is much different from the Litter Robot, but the initial pricing is lower. Wilsal, the company creating the box, has been working on the product for almost a year.

GoGoLeash bills itself as the world’s most advanced dog-walking and training tool. The device has an LED light, a built in water tank and poop bag dispenser, and can be used as a seatbelt in a vehicle.

The project has raised $26,636 from 428 backers, well above it’s $5,000 goal and it still has 43 days left until funding closes. The Delaware-based founders debuted the product at CES 2020.

Vapor EZ Lick is a foldable dog water bottle that lets pet owners hydrate their dogs while on-the-go. The bottle has a “lick-activated” cap designed specifically for dogs.

The project has raised $31,432 from 1,091 backers, more than 3 times its $10,000 target. The founder is Vapur Hydration, an Oxnard, California-based manufacturer of foldable water bottles.

The SideKick Hip Pack is a hiking pack designed for dog owners. In addition to the typical hip pack features (water bottle & cell phone pockets, carabiner, etc.), this pack has extra dog-friendly features:  waste bags, leash loop,and a removable washable liner for treats and other smelly items.

The project has raised $41,619 from 502 backers, more than double its goal of $15,000.

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Wagz Plans Merger with its Manufacturing Vendor (pet cameras, trackers, smart feeders)


Wagz, the New Hamphire-based pet tech company that sells several smart products, including a wifi collar, a connected pet feeder and a video treat cam, announced that they are planning to merge with SigmaTron, an electronic manufacturing company that produces much of Wagz’s product portfolio.

SigmaTron, based in Illinois, is a NASDAQ listed company. The merger would result in Wagz owning one-third of the combined company.

SigmaTron initially got into the pet tech space by manufacturing a smart dog collar for Petzila. When Petzila couldn’t pay its bills, SigmaTron foreclosed on the company and took over all the Petzila assets. SigmaTron then sold those assets to Wagz in 2018.

The merger should benefit both companies. Wagz will be better able to control its manufacturing costs and bring more products to market. SigmaTron will benefit from the recurring subscription revenue that is generated from most pet tech products.

TeleVet Scores Another $5 Million in Funding
(pet health)

Austin, Texas-based TeleVet closed a $5 million Series A round this week. 

TeleVet is a telehealth platform that connects vets clinics to their clients via the web and a mobile app.

This funding comes less than 6 months after the company received $2.3 million in seed capital. The company now has 25 employees (with plans to double by the end of the year) and provides its telemedicine service to 6,500 vets. 

Not a big surprise as demand for veterinary telehealth has been surging since the outbreak of the coronavirus.  Additionally, TeleVet has been growing after it began offering its platform free for a limited time to vet practices that do business with Hill’s Pet Nutrition. 

Zoetis Modifying its Pet Insurance Plan to Keep Vets Happy  (pet insurance)

Zoetis is changing its recently launched Pumpkin pet insurance offering after receiving feedback from veterinarians.

The company initially offered its policyholders a preventive care option that included home delivery of its flea, tick and heartworm medicine.

Vet groups complained, claiming that the option “could have prevented veterinarians from choosing the right products for each patient.”

I guess that means some vets want to be able to prescribe different brands of meds without upsetting Zoetis policyholders who would naturally prefer to get the free stuff shipped to their homes. Seems reasonable. And the company needs to keep the vets happy because that’s who writes the prescriptions for the Zoetis products.

May 29, 2020

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