With the goal of expanding worldwide sales distribution for its interactive pet camera, Petcube has closed a $1.1M seed funding round with AVentures Capital and Almaz Capital, with participation from SOSVentures, Mint.com cofounder and CTO David Michaels and former Chief Malware Researcher at Facebook, Nick Bilogorskiy. Participating investors will also support Petcube by sharing their experience, with Yevgen Sysoyev from AVentures Capital being on Petcube’s board of directors.
Expansion and customer satisfaction
Photo credit: Petcube
This investment comes after a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013 where Petcube exceeded its 100,000 dollar goal by more than 250% thus becoming one of the most successful crowdfunding pet products in crowdfunding history. Before this campaign, cofounders Alex Neskin, Andrey Klen and Yaroslav Azhnyuk financed Petcube from their personal savings and an additional $70k in angel investments from Semyon Dukach and SOS Ventures, as a part of HAXLR8R program.
For founder and CEO Yaroslav Azhnyuk the investments feels like yet another step. “It seems to me that funding is so overrated and it gets too much attention as compared to all other activities that go into building a business,” he told inventures.eu. The validation of the product through the Kickstarter campaign and the positive feedback from customers are more important metrics for Petcube than the investment. “Rather than an updated bank balance after the funding, we were much more thrilled with the first happy consumer feedbacks about the Petcube Camera,” Azhnyuk added.
Moreover, this investment will enable Petcube to reach customers faster. “We will use the new capital to expand worldwide sales to brick-and-mortar retail stores in the US and Canada, establish greater overall distribution and help more caring pet parents stay connected to their furry friends,” Azhnyuk explained.
A pup loving startup
Rather than an updated bank balance after the funding, we were much more thrilled with the first happy consumer feedbacks about the Petcube Camera.
The Petcube Camera is a gadget that lets pet owners watch, talk and play with their pet, no matter where they are. This device is equipped with a wide-angle, Wi-Fi-enabled camera with real time video and built-in laser pointer which is controlled through Petcube’s free iOS and Android applications. The company behind the Petcube Camera was founded in September 2012 by Alex Neskin, Andrey Klen and Yaroslav Azhnyuk.
The idea for the product is credited to Rocky the Chihuahua, the pet of cofounder and CTO Alex Neskin, Azhnyuk said. Because Rocky would create a ruckus every time he was left alone, Neskin created an Arduino-based robot that consisted of a web camera and a remotely controlled laser pointer to play with Rocky through a web interface, which distracted the puppy from barking. “That’s how the first prototype of the Petcube Camera was born,” Azhnyuk concluded.
Today, the company is headquartered in San Francisco, CA with offices in Kiev, Ukraine, and Shenzhen, China, and the Petcube team consists of over 20 passionate pet lovers and geeks. To date, 1,758 backers supported Petcube on Kickstarter, and even more people pre-ordered the camera within the first batch through Petcube.com. “We shipped Petcube Camera to all of them and our first batch was completely sold out. We’re currently shipping the gadgets from our second production batch,” Azhnyuk said.