Petcube startup raised $1.1 million from venture funds Almaz Capital and AVentures Capital

Petcube startup raised $1.1 million from venture funds Almaz Capital and AVentures Capital

Raised funds Petcube plans to spend on expanding in the srores of the US and Canada

Pets that stay home alone too much can get depressed or out of shape due to a lack of interaction with humans.

But a startup called Petcube Inc. has raised $1.1 million in seed funding to keep pets happy and healthy with hardware and apps, the company announced.

AVentures Capital and Almaz Capital co-led the seed investment in the San Francisco-based company, with participation from SOSVentures, co-founder and CTO David Michaels and Nick Bilogorskiy, who was a former chief malware researcher for Facebook Inc.

Earlier, the company raised $250,000 in funding on Kickstarter, graduated from the Haxlr8r hardware startup accelerator and raised $70,000 from angel investors.

The company’s flagship product, the Petcube Camera, lets “pet parents” remotely watch over, talk to and even play with their animals. It is a Wi-Fi enabled, wide-angle camera controlled through Petcube’s iOS or Android mobile apps, which are free to download.

Unlike other connected cameras–such as Dropcam, Canary and the Motorola Scout pet monitor–the Petcube Camera contains a smartphone-controlled laser pointer. Pet owners can use it to send their cats or dogs running around a room.

Petcube also functions as a social network and media source. Users can give friends limited or permanent access to look in on and play with their pets. They can also submit and discover funny animal photos and videos, such as the company’s “pet of the day” content, on the app.

Investors expect Petcube to use its seed money for hiring, sales and marketing and distribution in the U.S., especially expanding online sales and forming strong relationships with brick-and-mortar retailers, says Daniil Stolyarov, investment director at Almaz Capital.

The startup’s co-founder and CEO Yaroslav Azhnyuk says eventually, he aims to have the Petcube to be on the shelves places people buy consumer electronics or pet products, including Apple, Petco and PetSmart stores. But his company will have to scale up strategically.

It is a challenge for any hardware startup to maintain price-competitiveness and quality, given that customers’ expectations are set by the likes of Apple Inc. and GoPro Inc., the CEO said.

SOSVentures Partner and early Petcube backer Cyril Ebersweiler said the company should be able to hit $3 million in annual sales before raising another round.

Petcube doesn’t need as much venture capital as other hardware startups in Silicon Valley, he said, because it maintains a strong technical team in Kiev and already has a solid product offering and sales.

AVentures’ Managing Partner Yevgen Sysoyev expects Petcube will raise a Series A round within a year. His firm specializes in backing tech startups that originated in Eastern Europe, but that are poised for globalization.

According to a Senior Analyst for Euromonitor International, Jared Koerten, the outlook for pet tech, an emerging category in the U.S., is strong even if these devices aren’t yet mainstream.

“Pet-related social media activity,” he said, is already booming, and although you “don’t see electronics besides automated feeders taking up a lot of shelf space in major pet retailers yet,” such products likely will grow popular among pet owners, following human “wearables and smart home device” trends.

The dog and cat population in the U.S. alone is expected to grow by 1% a year through 2019, and the U.S. market for pet products excluding food exceeds $22 billion annually, according to Euromonitor International estimates.


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