Every maker should have a pet project or two, but how about an actual pet project? If a number of pet startup success stories are to be believed, then our furry friends may provide a lucrative and untapped market for hardware and gadgets; so maybe it’s time to get involved with pet products from hardware startups.
The pet market is a smart one for any maker, seeing as it’s such a clearly defined niche with a consumer base who are highly passionate about the subject (have you ever met a cat or dog owner who wasn’t infatuated with their pet?), but where there are still a lot of points to target. There are clear routes to market too: pet stores, animal forums, and social networks for animal lovers, to name a few.
The take home message? Try to find a targeted niche for your product like this, and you will greatly increase your chances of success. For inspiration, here are some of the coolest gadgets, devices, and pet products aimed at animals and their owners, to come to the market in the last couple of years.
You’ve heard of FitBit, now how about FitBark? Yes, it’s exactly like it sounds – a health tracker that’s designed for canine use, and which lets owners monitor their dog’s health remotely. The device launched on Kickstarter in July of last year, and surpassed the target of $35,000 in just 27 hours.
PetSwag is a company that manufacturers and ships all manner of unusually stylish pet products. From fancy scarfs, to collars, to beds that rival what you’d see in Ikea. The company takes full advantage of the fact that pet owners still like the items in their home to be stylish – even if the animals themselves aren’t likely to discriminate!
Tractive is a tech startup founded in 2012, that offers not one, but a whole host of different hardware solutions for pet owners. These include the likes of GPS pet trackers, another activity monitor, and even a dog remote. That last one is not quite as frightening as it may at first sound, and fortunately doesn’t involve embedded electrodes in your pooch’s brain. Rather, it’s a tool used for training.
This may sound like the title of a new horror flick, but rather the Silent Herdsman is a device designed to be used by farmers. This gadget takes advantage of the Internet of Things, and uploads data about cattle to the cloud, including health stats, and even their heat. The Glasgow based company is clearly onto something, as the idea managed to raise $4.9 million in funding.
Cat2See lets owners not only spy on their pets when they’re away, but also play with them, and even feed them remotely. They can do this with a device that combines a mobile webcam with an automatic feeder, and a robotic fishing line.
HandiScoop and Ash Poopie
HandiScoop is has a rather ambitious mission statement to change people’s lives, and make the world a better place. How? By suctioning up poop of course! It’s not a terribly compact device, but it can save you having to bend down… One user reportedly said it took ‘the drama out of poop-scooping’.
Poop-scooping isn’t safe from the relentless march of technology though it would seem, as the more advanced Ash Poopie will be making its way onto the market soon to offer some competition. This ingenious device lets owners collect their animals’ droppings without getting their hands dirty’, and then goes one step further by incinerating them into odorless, sterile powder. This is one innovation that pet lovers and those who don’t count themselves as fans will like!
So what do you think? Is this a viable market for makers? Will you be creating a pet product any time soon? Let us know in the comments below, or sign up to the newsletter for more inspiration and news that matters to makers!