PupPod featured in the Fountain Report's Innovation Spotlight

PupPod wants to create an “Xbox for dogs” with digital-powered toys that give pets a more challenging playtime than other products.

The company’s first product, the PupPod Rocker, is available for customers to buy. When dogs touch the toy at the correct time—responding to a light or sound—the connected software prompts a separate device to toss a small number of treats to the pet. Owners use their smartphone to control when the toy prompts the dog. The feeder also has a video camera so owners can watch their dog play the game when they’re not home.

“When my dog started barking at cartoon dogs on TV, I realized there was a lot going on inside his mind,” founder and CEO Erick Eidus told the Fountain Report. “He needed an outlet for mental stimulation that was more interesting than chewing on a piece of plastic or plush toy.”

Eidus had previously worked on the development of smartphones, and he felt software would be integral in a new generation of pet products. He founded PupPod in 2015 with a vision of creating a platform of software-connected products and digital services.

“As consumer preferences start shifting from buying no-tech pieces of plastic to software-driven connected games, the whole [pet] industry is going to need a platform to connect these products to,” he said at this year’s Plug and Play Summit. “That’s the vision behind PupPod.”

Over the next five years, he plans to add new games to the platform and enable third-party products to connect. Eventually, he expects a large company in the pet, smart home or e-sports industry to compete with or acquire PupPod.

For now, Eidus wants to provide PupPod’s roughly 2,100 customers with an experience for their dog that’s mentally and physically rewarding.

The mental stimulation the product provides can lead to increased concentration, reduced barking, higher confidence and lower anxiety, Eidus said. Physically, the toy keeps dogs moving, and since it dispenses few food rewards at a time, it can help pets lose weight, he added. Veterinarians can recommend the toy paired with food that meets dogs’ specific needs, whether to lose weight or promote brain activity.

“The killer scenario is using PupPod so a dog can earn their meal,” he said. “Dogs need physical exercise and mental stimulation.”

To learn more about PupPod, visit the company’s website at puppod.com.

This article was originally published in the Fountain Report. Learn more at LinkedIn @TheFountainReport.

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