Petnet, the maker of the Smart Feeder — an appliance that feeds your pets automatically and measures health metrics — has raised $10 million in a round of funding led by pet store chain Petco. The company plans to use the money to expand its personalized pet food service.
Los Angeles-based Petnet first showed off its Smart Feeder at the 2015 International CES, where it was one of many Internet of Things applications, designed to make everyday objects smart and connected.
Carlos Herrera, CEO and cofounder of Petnet, said in a statement, “Petnet was born out of love for our pets and the passion to improve their lives. We are pleased to partner with Petco to leverage their know-how and existing infrastructure to reach more pet owners across the U.S. These new funds will enable us to further develop our personalized pet feeding service to keep pets everywhere happy and healthy.”
In the U.S., pet owners are expected to spend nearly $24 billion on pet food in 2016. About 65 percent of U.S. households have pets. Unfortunately, an estimated 52.7 percent of dogs and 57.9 percent of cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese, making them predisposed to a number of health issues.
Herrera has said before that Petnet gives you actionable data, like how consistently you feed your pet the correct amount of food.
Dumb pet feeders cost only $5 to $50, while Petnet’s products range from $50-$150. Herrera said that costs will come down as the business scales. But he also said that Petnet offers something more: an intelligent and custom food evaluation and portioning system, tailored to a pet’s type, age, weight, and level of activity.
“With Petco’s continued effort to drive the digital revolution in pet specialty, we are extremely proud to partner with Petnet,” said Petco’s chief financial officer, Mike Nuzzo, in a statement. “Customers are increasingly looking for personalized technology-based solutions that enhance the life of their pets while providing convenience and flexibility. As an investor, and in our capacity as their exclusive pet specialty retail partner, we’re working closely with Petnet to help them quickly scale their offerings across the United States.”
A mobile app allows you to monitor your pet’s status, control the feeding schedule, and assign the correct portions for your pet. You can also remotely feed your pet, and you can reorder pet food from Petnet through the app. It learns about your pet over time, giving you better food suggestions and calculating the calories your pet is eating. It holds about seven pounds of food, or around two weeks’ worth.
Petnet has an interesting business model. Not only does it sell the $150 SmartFeeders and $50 SmartBowls, it also sells pet foods. The company will expand to more pet-related smart products over time.
The American Pet Products Association estimated that spending in this market hit $58.51 billion in the U.S. in 2014, up from $55.72 billion. That’s a big opportunity, and it’s why Petnet has funding.
The company employs 30 people and has raised $21.5 million to date. Beginning this week, Petnet’s SmartFeeder and SmartBowl are available at select Petco stores nationwide and online at Petco.com. Petnet was founded in 2013.