Waggit, a Boulder company, has its first smart collars shipping in January. Courtesy Waggit.

Waggit uses smart collars to detect what ails your pet

BOULDER — Waggit, a wearable tech company for pets, has plans to end the year and start the next with big developments.

The startup recently closed on $3 million in funding and plans to close on another $1 million in the next few years. The funds are for shipping out the first 1,500 units of its first product, a smart collar for dogs, at the beginning of 2019.

Each collar has various sensors that help a dog owner learn the baseline of their pup’s needs and habits: their sleeping patterns, calories they are burning, what side they prefer to lay down on. All of that can be tabulated and checked in an app. When a pup is acting abnormally from their baseline, it can be an indicator that it’s time for a trip to the vet.

“Waggit was born from the fact that, because animals intentionally hide their pain, we’re not finding things with enough notice,” Susan Sierota, co-founder of Waggit, told BizWest. “The right information and the right timing can have the power to change everything. We’re tracking key indicators to help pet parents detect when something might be wrong.”

Waggit is a wearable tech smart-collar that uses sensors to detect a dog’s sleeping habits, calories burned and other key indicators of their health. Courtesy Waggit.

In addition to sensors in the collar — which can be attached to any standardized one-inch collar to customize it — pet owners can add information into a dog’s profile. Inputs include the dog’s breed, whether it has been fixed, its gender and age. There’s a diary section where more information can be added, as well as vet contact and reminders. Future versions of the app will include the ability to take a picture of a dog-food label and photo recognition of human food, to add more nutrition information beyond calories burned. The collar and app also includes a “find my dog” feature with GPS tracking.

Sierota said the Waggit collar is not meant to be a diagnostic tool or replace a vet, but rather to alert a dog owner to issues of which they might not be aware.

“If a dog is in pain, you can see in that scenario a change in sleeping habits, both the time they spend sleeping and less time in deep sleep,” she said. “If they’re in pain, you’ll often see an increase in heart and respiration rate. If they have a hurt leg, you might see them avoiding laying down on that side. You can see something is off through the app.”

The goal, she said, is to help detect any issues early, help a dog not be in pain and hopefully extend its life.

Waggit, whose parent company is Vibrissa Inc., is in its early stages. The startup is shipping its first collars in the first week of January, after preselling 1,000 through Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns. After three years of development and five prototypes, the company has manufactured its first 1,500 units.

Those interested in receiving the first collars can still purchase them online through Indiegogo for $199 per collar. The collar is designed for dogs 20 pounds and larger. Sierota said the company is gaining traction on optimizing a collar for dogs smaller than 20 pounds, as well as a collar for cats.

Vibrissa started in California, but Sierota — a Colorado native — said she knew she wanted to bring her company to Boulder, which she did a few months ago.

“We’re in Colorado because there is no better place to be,” she said. “It’s an amazing tech hub where we can hire and attract engineers we want. I think it’s the most pet-friendly place that has a tech hub. When you’re combining dog-friendly with tech hub and a great startup ecosystem, Boulder is No. 1 on the list.”

 

BOULDER — Waggit, a wearable tech company for pets, has plans to end the year and start the next with big developments.

The startup recently closed on $3 million in funding and plans to close on another $1 million in the next few years. The funds are for shipping out the first 1,500 units of its first product, a smart collar for dogs, at the beginning of 2019.

Each collar has various sensors that help a dog owner learn the baseline of their pup’s needs and habits: their sleeping patterns, calories they are burning, what side they prefer to lay down on. All of that can be tabulated and checked in an app. When a pup is acting abnormally from their baseline, it can be an indicator that it’s time for a trip to the vet.

“Waggit was born from the fact that, because animals intentionally hide their pain, we’re not finding things with enough notice,” Susan Sierota, co-founder of Waggit, told BizWest. “The right information and the right timing can have the power to change everything. We’re tracking key indicators to help pet parents detect when something might be wrong.”

Waggit is a wearable tech smart-collar that uses sensors to detect a dog’s sleeping habits, calories burned and other key indicators of their health. Courtesy Waggit.

In addition to sensors in the collar — which can be attached to any standardized one-inch…