Gadgets

Pet-feeding robot startup gets $1.1M. Where did we go wrong?

The Petnet SmartFeeder.

Above: The Petnet SmartFeeder.

Image Credit: Petnet

Here’s one to put the pet-sitters out of business: Petnet, a remote pet-feeder company, has garnered $1.125 million from various investors in a seed round.

The L.A.-based startup makes a glorified food bowl (called the SmartFeeder) and companion mobile and web apps that let you kinda-sorta take care of your companion animal from afar.

We guess this works for animals who eat more than two or three times per day, and the app provides a few quantified-pet metrics, such as caloric intake. It’ll also alert you when you’re running low on kibble.

But as a pet owner myself, I’m giving this product a giant eye-roll. As Petnet points out via email, “Feeding plays a central role in the life of a pet.” And if you want to delegate something that important to a robot, I have a few thoughts on the subject.

If you’re too lazy, too busy, or just too dumb to feed your pet, maybe you’re not pet-owner material. If you can’t tell when your pet is over- or underweight, if you can’t tell when you’re running out of food, and if you can’t remember when they get their meals, you don’t need a SmartFeeder — you need a more responsible caregiver for your pet.

Whatever. I’m apparently in the minority, because quite a few investors have thrown their hats into Petnet’s ring.

For the seed round, backers include Grishin Robotics, Kima Ventures, SparkLabs Global Ventures, and Launch Capital. With the $1.125 million, Petnet hopes to take the SmartFeeder to market by the middle of 2014.


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