Interactive Dog Toy Wins Innovation Award at KC Animal Health Corridor Investment Forum
PupPod, the smartphone-connected puzzle toy that gets harder as a dog gets smarter, received the Innovation Award at the KC Animal Health Corridor Investment Forum, which was held in August in Kansas City, Mo. PupPod, which made its first appearance at the event, was among 18 innovative early-stage businesses in the animal health and nutrition industry to present at the Forum.
“We are gratified and inspired by this award,” said Erick Eidus, CEO and co-founder of the Kirkland, Wash.-based company. “PupPod prevailed at a very competitive event, one that typically doesn’t focus on pet toys or training. To have come out on top in that environment gives this recognition great meaning. We are inspired to take PupPod to the next level, given that our approach has been fully affirmed by this auspicious body.”
The KC Animal Health Corridor Investment Forum’s Innovation Award provides an opportunity for venture capital funds, investment firms and animal-health companies to hear from emerging companies with the newest technology. The organization offers one of the only opportunities in the world for early-stage companies in the animal health sector to present their vision and products to potential investors.
“The KC Animal Health Corridor Investment Forum is a platform for advancing innovation and ideas into the global animal health industry,” said Kimberly Young, president of the KC Animal Health Corridor. “PupPod being selected as the 2017 Innovation Award winner highlights the increased interest that investors and enterprise companies have for emerging technology and data companies.”
Housed in a Red KONG Wobbler, PupPod is an interactive dog toy that uses a combination of sensors, lights and sounds to encourage a dog to solve a puzzle and receive a reward. Puzzles are simple at first, and then get harder as the dog learns to master the challenges. Statistics are recorded after each session, and achievements can be shared on social media and in the future in a PupPod community.
“The Kong Company is a strong supporter of animal health and excited to be working with an innovative company who is dedicated to bringing innovation to the dogs we love,” said Kong trainer and behavior expert, Mark Hines.
As dogs play with PupPod, built-in software automatically adjusts the difficulty based on actual performance. When the dog takes the correct action with the toy, he earns a treat from his owner or an optional Bluetooth-connected feeder. When a wireless dispenser, like the Pet Tutor, is paired with the PupPod mobile app, game play is automated. This is very useful when pet owners are busy, like getting ready for work in the morning or making dinner in the evening, said company officials. Pet owners have access to the easy-to-use mobile app, which tracks the dog’s progress and provides additional insight into the dog’s capabilities and skill level.