The Tech Entrepreneurs Keeping Our Pets Fit, Safe and Well by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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We’ve seen the rise in smart devices for humans, now it’s the turn of our pets, as tech entrepreneurs turn their talents to a range of apps, tools and devices that can improve the health and wellbeing of pets.

People love their pets and when it comes to keeping them fit and well, will spare no expense. Pet tech products, ranging from fitness devices to interactive toys, reached $565 million in sales in the U.S. in 2018, a figure that is expected to rise sharply in 2019. That’s good news for pet tech startups looking to make an impact with their innovations in this rapidly developing market, and here are three of them.

PitPat

Obesity is not just a major concern for humans. Growing numbers of pets are overweight, largely the result of overfeeding and lack of exercise, and it is putting their health at risk. PitPat is a dog activity monitor, a sort of canine Fitbit, that gives owners a personalized exercise goal for their dog, allowing them to monitor activity, distance and calories and manage their dog’s weight.

Cofounder and CEO Andrew Nowell says: “Unfortunately many dogs are getting too much food and not enough ‘walkies’. As an entrepreneur, I spotted the opportunity to combine two passions, dogs and technology, to create a product that contributes to dog health and is rewarding for the owner.”

The small, lightweight, waterproof device attaches to the dog’s collar and connects via Bluetooth to a free app, which gives the dog a tailored exercise goal based on their age, weight and breed. It also tracks their daily activity and provides a breakdown of their walking, running, resting and playing as well as calories burned.

Nowell says: “What we are doing will change the way that pets are fed, how pet food is bought, how dogs are insured and the cost, and how diseases are detected and medicines administered.”

Pet Rescuar

Serial entrepreneur Mike Peates had been working on a solution to help find autism and dementia wanderers, based on the premise of creating an instant, connected local search party with experience, whilst at the same time building a social community.

Almost by accident the founder and director of Owow Innovations also came up with Pet Rescuar, which provides a similar solution for finding missing pets.

“Working on the autism solution I’d sourced a Ukrainian development company to build an Android version,” he says. “Once the initial wireframes came through I knew it was ideally suited to the pet market, which had been in the back of my mind to do at a later date.”

While there are other ‘pet finder’ tools and apps available, most are aimed at contacting the owner when the pet has been found. Pet Rescuar works at the point that an owner notices their pet is missing. The most critical time to find a missing pet is the first 24 hours, yet most owners only resort to social media or ‘missing’ websites after they’ve completed a search themselves, which could be hours or even days later.

Pet Rescuar can be downloaded from Google Play Store and a pet’s details can be added within a minute. The owner sends a push notification to other app users within a five-mile radius who can see a list of missing pets in their area. If they decide to join the search they are provided with a full screen image, plus a button to contact the owner if they sight or find the animal.

“Whenever you are looking to bring a new product to market you have to either be unique or improving what is already available,” says Peates. “Whilst Pet Rescuar uses technology, the primary aim is to create a good old search party with ‘eyes on the ground’ in the quickest time possible.”

FirstVet

Online and video medical consultations are nothing new in the human world. Now their pets are getting in on the act thanks to companies like FirstVet, a Sweden-based digital veterinary app offering pet owners remote video consultations and advice from veterinarians, directly through a smartphone or tablet.

Founded by CEO David Prien, Per Victor, Joakim Widigs and Lars Martin Norviit, FirstVet, part of VetZoo, the biggest online retailer of pet supplies in the Nordics, allows pet owners to save both time and money by avoiding unnecessary trips to the clinic. Launched in 2016, FirstVet is used by owners of all kinds of pets.

Key to success when innovating within the pet space is finding the right value proposition from a pet owner perspective, says Prien.

“You need to understand the pain points that pet owners have on a daily basis, rather than trying to ‘invent problems’ that are solved with new inventions or hardware,” he says.

He also believes that driving the right market development is based on collaborative thinking. “FirstVet is a good example of how to gather many big market actors; pet owners, insurance companies, veterinarians, regulators, pet and breeder clubs, under one flag to drive the common good for all involved parties.” 

Stockholm-based FirstVet provides almost 10,000 consultations per month in Scandinavia and is planning to launch in the U.K.

March 17, 2019 at 03:14AM
https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisoncoleman/2019/03/17/the-tech-entrepreneurs-keeping-our-pets-fit-safe-and-well/
Forbes – Entrepreneurs
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