There are 80 million pet dogs in America. And, boy, do their owners love them. At a time when the start-up world is brimming with scaleable ideas, these entrepreneurs are taking products, services, and technologies with proven track-records--and turning their focus away from you the human, and toward your furry friend. Here are five start-ups that took these ideas and are currently trying to make them bark.
What size is Fido? "Small and cute," "just right," or "big and bold?" For $19 a month, this start-up delivers a box of size-appropriate treats and toys to your door. Barkbox, which raised $5 million more in funds from investors such as Lerer Ventures and Polaris Ventures, and plans to rename itself to Bark & Co., donates at least 10 percent of its profits to shelters, rescues, and animal welfare organizations.
This start-up takes dog walking to a whole new level, tracking Spot's every step and, yes, poop. With the help of a handy GPS enabled Swifto app, dog walkers update their charges' profiles with information regarding the walk's route, pooping, and social habits. Swifto operates in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens and the app is now operational on all smartphones, including Android devices and iPhones.
This little company makes scannable ID tags that use QR codes. So, if Brutus skidaddles, whoever finds him can use the code to pull up his online profile--and get in touch with his owner. The company's Beta program launched in September, 2010. Two and a half years later, PetHub has launched in Netherlands, Germany, and France.
Dog Vacay allows vetted and insured dog lovers to open up their homes and offer to take care of pets, while their owners are out of town. Dog Vacay, which launched in October of 2011, offers rates that start at $15 a night and include 24/7 customer support and daily photo updates.
This crowdfunded start-up makes an app and a pet-feeder, which, combined, allow users to feed their furry companion when they're far away. Pintofeed works with iOS, iPhone, Android and Windows 8 devices and can automatically create a schedule to dispense food and will monitor pet's intake. The company is currently taking "reservations" for the $149 devices, which have yet to make it fully to market.