PupPod Raises $772K Seed Funding, Announces Strategic Relationship with The Company of Animals
Funding will accelerate award-winning pet technology company building smart dog toys & new user experiences for pet parents.
SEATTLE, WA — Jan. 24, 2019 — PupPod, the leader in building smart products for animals, announces the close of their seed investment round led by Dr. Roger Mugford, pet industry veteran and founder of The Company of Animals. The financing will be used to fund the next generation of PupPod’s products and platform for canine enrichment and pet parent engagement. Dr. Mugford has also joined PupPod as a strategic advisor.
“As an animal psychologist by training, I’ve spent my 50 year career focused on innovative products that improve the lives of animals,” said Dr. Mugford. “As I learned about PupPod’s technology platform and vision, it became clear to me that software and data are going to substantially disrupt the pet industry and these trends align perfectly with the expectations of millennial pet parents. PupPod has assembled a remarkable team capable of linking pets and technology and I wanted to be involved.”
“Dr. Mugford and The Company of Animals are the perfect partners to help PupPod bring our vision to a wider market,” said Erick Eidus, CEO of PupPod.
PupPod’s platform and smart toys leverage software to create games based on positive reinforcement. As Dr. Mugford explains, “Behavioral issues are often associated with boredom, but animals are sentient beings who need mental stimulation and many were bred to work. The PupPod platform and products solve this issue by letting animals work for their food and exercise their minds. This can lead to a happier, more balanced pet.”
The PupPod Wobbler game leverages lights, sounds, and timing to create a smart puzzle toy. Game difficulty can be set using the PupPod mobile app. When a dog touches the PupPod Wobbler at the correct time, they earn food rewards from a Bluetooth feeder and the game gets harder as a dog gets smarter. The PupPod mobile app can provide pet parents with insights on how their dog is learning and calorie consumption. The next version of PupPod will enable new scenarios that treat dogs as participants of a connected home and allow pet parents to play with their dog remotely.
PupPod is building a software platform and high-tech dog products that promote mental stimulation and physical activity. The company has developed software-driven dog toys to promote behavior modification and allow humans to interact with the dogs they love in new ways. PupPod brings innovation to a product category that has been stagnant for decades and has received awards from the Purina Pet Care Innovation Prize, Animal Health Investment Forum, TechCrunch, Kickstarter, TiE Angels, Kirkland Investor Sharks, & Bellevue Tech Expo.
Learn more at: https://puppod.com.
About Dr. Mugford & The Company of Animals
Dr. Mugford is a prolific author, educator and animal welfare advocate. As Britain’s leading animal psychologist and a pioneer in behavioural therapy, he speaks on behalf of animal welfare across the world.
In 1979 he founded The Animal Behaviour Centre in Surrey, a referral service for veterinary surgeons and their clients with problem pets. More than 80,000 pets have benefitted from the Centre’s services to date. That same year, he founded The Company of Animals brand where he invented and developed a range of products that have revolutionized the way people train their pets. His clients have included the Queen’s corgies and other Royal family dogs. In 2018, The Company of Animals received the prestegious Queen’s Award for Enterprise, selected by Her Majesty The Queen on the advice of the prime minister.
PupPod Wins 2017 Innovation Award
Creating New Generation of Internet-based Smart Activity Toys for Dogs
Seattle, WA – September, 12, 2017 – PupPod, the smartphone-connected puzzle toy that gets harder as a dog gets smarter, received the prestigious Innovation Award at the recent KC Animal Health Corridor Investment Forum. PupPod, making its first appearance at this distinguished event, was among 18 innovative early-stage businesses in the animal health and nutrition industry to present at the Forum.
“We are gratified and inspired by this award, said PupPod CEO and co-founder Erick Eidus. PupPod prevailed at a very competitive event, one that typically doesn’t focus on pet toys or training. To have come out on top in that environment gives this recognition great meaning. We are inspired to take PupPod to the next level, given that our approach has been fully affirmed by this auspicious body.”
The KC Animal Health Corridor Investment Forum’s Innovation Award provides a unique opportunity for venture capital funds, investment firms and animal-health companies to hear from emerging companies with the newest technology. The organization offers one of the only opportunities in the world for early-stage companies in the animal health sector to present their vision and products to potential investors.
“The KC Animal Health Corridor Investment Forum is a platform for advancing innovation and ideas into the global animal health industry, said Kimberly Young, President of the KC Animal Health Corridor. “PupPod being selected as the 2017 Innovation Award winner highlights the increased interest that investors and enterprise companies have for emerging technology and data companies.”
Housed in a Red KONG Wobbler, PupPod is an interactive dog toy that uses a combination of sensors, lights and sounds to encourage a dog to solve a puzzle and receive a reward. Puzzles are simple at first, and then get harder as the dog learns to master the challenges. Statistics are recorded after each session, and achievements can be shared on social media and in the future in a PupPod community.
“The Kong Company is a strong supporter of animal health and excited to be working with an innovative company who is dedicated to bringing innovation to the dogs we love,” said Kong Trainer and Behavior Expert, Mark Hines.
As dogs play with PupPod, built-in software automatically adjusts the difficulty based on actual performance. When the dog takes the correct action with the toy, he earns a treat from his owner or an optional Bluetooth-connected feeder. When a wireless dispenser, like the Pet Tutor, is paired with the PupPod mobile app, game play is automated. This is very useful when pet parents are busy, like getting ready for work in the morning or making dinner in the evening. Pet parents enjoy the easy-to-use mobile app which tracks the dog’s progress and provides additional insight into the dog’s capabilities and skill level.
“Headquartered near Seattle, WA, PupPod is building high-tech products for dogs that promote mental stimulation and physical activity. The company is developing software-driven dog toys to promote behavior modification and allow humans to interact with the dogs they love in new ways. PupPod brings innovation to a product category that has been stagnant for decades. PupPod is building dog toys for the Internet age.”
Learn more at: www.puppod.com
About KC Animal Health Corridor:
The KC Animal Health Corridor is home to the world’s largest concentration of the animal health industry. Companies with a strategic location in the KC Animal Health Corridor represent 56 percent of total worldwide animal health, diagnostics and pet food sales. Anchored by Manhattan, Kansas, and Columbia, Missouri, the Corridor is home to more than 300 animal health companies, including five of the ten largest global animal health companies.
Learn more at: www.kcanimalhealth.thinkkc.com.
PupPod’s Kickstarter: World’s first self-learning platform for dogs features modified KONG toy, wireless treat dispenser and live streaming video
Watch your dog earn treats while you’re at work
Kirkland, WA – September 15, 2015 – PupPod, a gaming platform to engage a dog’s brain, today announced the launch of their Kickstarter campaign for a web-based system to keep dogs mentally active and owners connected to their pets from almost anywhere. Starting today, dog lovers can rest assured their “furry” friends are never without learning activities. The system can expand with new toys, games and compatible products based on the unique needs of every dog.
Over 54 million US households own at least one dog. Pet parents feel tremendous guilt about leaving their dogs at home alone while at work. Dogs left alone all day are usually bored out of their mind, exhibit separation anxiety, or find destructive outlets to keep busy. Traditional dog toys remain mostly unchanged, lacking sophistication and unable to provide long-term mental stimulation. Even worse, there is currently no video solution available for an owner to follow a dog’s daily routine and behavior.
PupPod is building the world’s first self-learning platform so dogs can experience both mental and physical exercise when owners cannot be there. PupPod helps pet parents feel connected by streaming video of their dog’s achievements while providing insights about intellectual progress. To ensure against overeating, parental controls enable pet parents to set treat limits throughout the day to keep their dog healthy. In fact, PupPod has teamed with Zuke’s®, a leader in the natural pet treat category, to test their system with over 250 dogs. The treats provide only the finest natural ingredients and no harsh additives or preservatives. Dogs can earn rewards and stay fit at the same time. “Zuke’s is excited that the PupPod team selected our Mini Naturals® for their usability tests. We’re happy to support their innovative approach in combining treat rewards with a fun activity that stimulates a dog’s brain and body,” said Paula Miller, Digital Marketing Manager, Zuke’s.
PupPod believes dog products will soon connect to the Internet of Things. Using PupPod, dogs play with smart toys that are wirelessly connected to a treat dispenser. The learning begins when the dog completes the initial game level and earns a treat. The system has multiple levels, so dogs have to keep thinking to keep earning treats. Pet parents can use their smartphones or computer to watch live video and make decisions in the game. The doggy dashboard also makes it easy to watch recorded videos and monitor the progress of a “furry” family member.
“PupPod is the only product to combine a game, a reward, streaming video, and analytics so pet parents can remotely watch their dog’s accomplishments and understand what their dog is thinking.” said Erick Eidus, Co-founder and CEO. “Playing PupPod requires your dog to process information and think, which engages your dog’s frontal cortex. The more they engage this part of the brain, the smarter they get, like a muscle that gets stronger. A strong brain means a longer attention span for training and a more relaxed dog in the evening. It may also help to reduce senility in older dogs. “
PupPod’s scalable platform easily connects with third party toys and dispensers for current and future enhancements. The company has already collaborated with KONG, the premier global provider of interactive toys and other products for dogs, and Smart Animal Training Systems for the premium Pet Tutor® treat dispenser.
“When we decided to use Bluetooth in the Pet Tutor, we hoped application developers and entrepreneurs would come up with innovative ways to utilize our products,” said Wes Anderson, Founder, Smart Animal Training Systems. “Our collaboration with PupPod is enabling new experiences for dogs and their owners that is evolving this product category. We look forward to continuing to work with Erick and his team to provide pet owners with the very best learning and training applications.”
PupPod is a gaming platform to engage a dog’s brain and help them reach their full intellectual potential. The company is building the world’s first self-learning platform to provide dog’s mental stimulation when home alone and owners to stay connected by watching live or recorded video. PupPod is located in Kirkland, WA. For more information visit www.puppod.com
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