We had the opportunity to sit down with Petcube’s Chief Marketing Officer, Vivian Lee, to hear Petcube’s story and discuss the future of the connected pet market. Earlier this year, we reviewed the Petcube Camera and gave it 4.6 out of 5 stars, making it one of our favorite products for pet owners. But it’s not just our favorite – this innovative pet tech company had one of the most successful crowdfunded pet products in history and is currently the best-selling pet camera on the market. Take a look at the full interview with Petcube below:
Q: How did Petcube get started? What was the vision?
A: Petcube got its start as a Kickstarter campaign in the Fall of 2013. The original concept behind the product, Petcube Camera, came from co-founder and CTO Alex Neskin who had a chihuahua named Rocky. Rocky simply hated being home alone when Alex had to go to work. So, Alex created an Arduino-based robot that consisted of a web camera and a remote controlled laser pointer. He was able to play with Rocky through a web interface and distract him from barking. That is how the very first prototype of Petcube Camera was conceived. Alex then reached out to his friends Yaroslav Azhnyuk (CEO) and Andrey Klen (CDO), together they became the founding members of the company. Petcube was funded on Kickstarter in late 2013, and became one of the most successful crowdfunding pet products, raising $251,000.
Our company’s vision is to connect people with their pets through technology. We all lead busy lives and pets are dear to us as family members and companions. We’re always striving to solve the challenges of time and distance when it comes to looking after those we love.
Q: Petcube recently raised $2.6 million in funding and was inducted into the Y-Combinator program. What can we expect in the near future from Petcube? Any new products?
A: To date, the company has raised a total of $3.8 million in funding, and was part of the Y-Combinator Winter Class. Petcube Camera is our first product, and it’s been very successful as the bestselling interactive Wi-Fi pet camera on the market. We’re working on other products, but aren’t ready to announce anything yet. You can expect that our future products will be in line with our overall company’s vision and brand. Petcube is a playful lifestyle brand. We’re about providing smart solutions, accessibility, beautiful design, and enabling fun, magical experiences to pet parents everywhere.
Q: Petcube’s app has quite an impressive social network for pets. Do people need to purchase a Petcube to use this feature or can they simply download the app?
A: Great question! The Petcube app is often used as a stand-alone social media experience for pet lovers who want to be a part of a close-knit community of pet enthusiasts – to share and engage through pictures, and to play with real pets through our Petcube for Shelters program. The Petcube app is also the companion app that enables our customers to control their Petcube Camera remotely from their smartphone. The Petcube app is free to download, and compatible with iOS and Android, available on the App Store and Google Play.
Q: We absolutely love Petcube’s partnership with animal shelters. Is there any way animal lovers can get involved with this, such as contacting local shelters to see if they would be interested in the program or even donating a Petcube?
A: We are a huge advocate for shelter and rescue organizations, which is why we rolled out the Petcube for Shelters program. We get involved directly with shelters all over the country, and we donate Petcube Cameras to the partners we work with and help them spread awareness in an effort to increase adoption rates. A number of our partners have set up their Petcube Cameras in public sharing mode to enable users and prospective pet parents to see what it’s like to virtually play and interact with pets up for adoption. If you’re a pet lover and want to recommend a shelter (with contact information), please drop us a line via our online email form.
We have also just introduced a Petcube Ambassadors program, and we want to drive awareness and encourage folks to get involved with us. Sign-up is super simple on our website, and we have been working with a number of pet advocates, influencers, and pet services professionals who find great value in what we’re doing.
Q: With connected products and the Internet of Things skyrocketing within the last couple of years, and new pet tech products being released constantly, what are your thoughts on the future of the connected pet market?
A: We’re excited about the market potential and innovation taking place. We coined the term Connected Pet, as a way to describe the intersection between Connected Home and Pet Care. We’ll continue to see exciting growth and momentum in this space as there are so many pet parents all over the world with shared challenges and experiences. Of course, Petcube wants to continue to lead and innovate in this growing category, and we welcome opportunities to partner with other companies that are doing cool, innovative things.