Petcube, which is part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2016 class, is a young startup that wants to bring together pet care and the connected home to improve the lives of our pets. To do this, the company has raised $2.6 million for their first product, the Petcube Camera.
The round comes from Almaz Capital, Y Combinator, and AVentures Capital, and brings Petcube’s total funding to $3.8 million to date.
The $199 Petcube Camera isn’t a regular home-monitoring device. It connects to your home Wi-Fi and enables you to entertain your bored pet remotely with a built-in, app-controlled laser toy. (Petcube’s website details that the 5mW 3R class laser is certified and safe for pets.)
The wide angle camera streams HD 720p video so you can watch your pet pounce and roll in real time. The built-in microphone and speaker lets your pet hear your loving coos.
Any pet owner can relate to the remorseful feeling of leaving your pet behind when you go out for the day. So naturally, we want to know what our furry friends are up to when we aren’t there. The idea for Petcube came from co-founder Alex Neskin, whose puppy Rocky suffered from separation anxiety and boredom when left alone. If only there were a way to keep in touch with his puppy throughout the day. Thus, Petcube was born, and CEO Yaroslav Azhnyuk and CDO Andrey Klen jumped on board to bring the idea to fruition.
The guys at Petcube have an internal saying that products for pets should be as well-designed and with as much care as products for humans are. This mantra has carried the trio a long way since starting out as part of the HAXLR8R hardware accelerator in 2013.
It’s also worth noting that Petcube had quite the successful Kickstarter launch for the Petcube Camera. The campaign blew past its $100,000 goal to raise over $250,000 from eager buyers, solidifying the notion that staying connected with your pet throughout the day was something many pet owners desired. Yar Azhnyuk, co-founder and CEO of Petcube says that the new funding will be used to expand distribution and keep building more pet-focused products, which he says are already in the works.
As far as the competition goes, the pet tech landscape is growing. There are activity trackers, smart food dispensers and even smart litter boxes. Azhnyuk points out that many other products being built for our animals are in very early stages of development. Petcube says that they see pet owners using other types of technology to entertain their pets, such as leaving a TV on while gone, or using home monitoring cameras to keep an eye on their animals.
But those solutions do not offer the ability to interact with our animals in the way that the Petcube Camera does.
Don’t have a pet? You can still play with other animals in the explore section of the Petcube app. There are about 30 pet shelters in the U.S. that have installed a Petcube Camera, allowing Petcube’s community to get to know shelter pets from afar and hopefully create a few adoption matches.
You can buy the $199 Petcube Camera on Petcube, Amazon, Brookstone, Best Buy and Fryes.