Having successfully founded and exited a couple of software companies, Tomfoolery (sold to Yahoo) and Rally Up (sold to AOL), Sol Lipman has made his move into dog wellness with the launch of YaDoggie.
YaDoggie aims to help dog parents take a holistic approach to caring for their pups. And it has an impressive group of tech investors on board, including Oath CEO Tim Armstrong (my boss’s boss) and Jacqueline Reses, Square’s chief human resources officer. But instead of defining itself as a dog tech company, YaDoggie is positioning itself as a dog wellness company using technology to make things better.
“We have a responsibility to think of ourselves as a dog and pet wellness company first,” Lipman said.
YaDoggie’s core offerings are healthy, grain-free kibble, treats and a smart scoop, which will cost $49. The food comes in three recipes, buffalo/duck, lamb and sweet potato and limited ingredient turkey and pea — none of which include rice, corn, wheat or soy.
Lipman, a dog parent himself, knows about the complexities of having a dog and not knowing if someone else in the house has already fed it. In his house, he connected a SmartThings Hub and motion monitor to let him know when the dog was getting fed.
“We’re literally feeding our dogs to death in the U.S.,” Lipman said.
The bluetooth-enabled smart scoop, which will launch in November, connects with your smartphone to let everyone in the house know when the dog has been fed. When you pick up the scoop, an LED light will flash green if the dog needs to be fed or red if the dog has already been fed.
“We thought to build a device to measure food, notify people in the household that the dog has been fed and allow them to know they’re about to run out of food,” Lipman said.
He calls this “predictive shipping” in contrast to the type of automated shipping you see from startups like Blue Apron. Instead of shipping automatically, YaDoggie’s algorithms predict when you’re about to run out of food and then proceeds to ship it. The dog parent can, of course, make adjustments online and either delay, expedite or pause shipments.
For a 40-pound dog, a subscription to Ya Doggie costs $50 a month, including shipping. Pricing, of course, varies on the size of the dog. Down the road, YaDoggie would be open to selling its products at retail locations, like a Blue Bottle Coffee location for pre-existing YaDoggie customers, but that’s not on the roadmap as of now.
“Pet retail,” Lipman said. “I don’t think it’s where we want to be.”