Startup Radius interviewed guys from Moggie – they have created a smart collar and app for cats that tracks and monitors everything, from movement to health metrics. Learn how they used startup events and conferences as a growth tool, how they go through challenges daily, why Instagram is the best marketing channel for them, and why it’s important to keep marketing/development balance in your startup. Enjoy!
Can you tell us about what you are working on? What is Moggie?
Moggie is a smart collar and app for cats that becomes a cat care system with embedded intelligent algorithm. The app keeps all data about the cat (age, weight, breed, etc) and shares tailored tips for cat owner based on entered information. The collar tracks cat’s motions, understands needs and analyzes behavioural patterns of the pet. So Moggie is a personal vet assistant in the pocket that knows everything about the cat and helps the owner interact with the furry family member in a new way.
It’s like we put one veterinarian in every our collar who works for you and your cat 24/7.
Why are you building this? Was there a particular source of inspiration or money-making idea?
The biggest particular source of inspiration is our cat )) Two co-foundes from our team moved from Ukraine to Sweden a bit more than two years ago and took their cat to Sweden. Both started working soon, so they didn’t spend a lot of time at home with the cat. One more problem was to go somewhere for a couple of days. This is a standard problem of a lot of cat owners – even if you want be responsible cat owner, you don’t have instruments, unless you spend all your time at home. So they decided to buy something like a smart collar or device that could help to track how the cat is doing, but didn’t find anything designed exclusively for cats in the market. This is how the idea was born.
After that we discovered that actually this is very interesting niche, so we decided to develop Moggie.
Time for bragging! How big you are – traffic, clients, anything else?
We gave the collars to a couple of cat owners in Spain and Sweden to collect early feedback and improve the functionality. The collars have been tested by cat cafes, shelters in Spain and Sweden as well. But at this stage our main users/tester are cats of our team members. They wear our prototypes and give us feedback on daily basis.
We haven’t launched our app yet, but planning to do it in the nearest feature. It will be a beta version, so if you want to try – please sign up on our website. The app is useful without a collar as well – it will provide a lot of useful info and reminds about the most important routines for your cat.
We have few partners – quite big pet food producer from Spain and Agricultural University from Sweden. We are planning to do joint researches once more prototypes are produced.
Who are your main competitors, and how good/bad they are?
One of the biggest players on pet market is Whistle. They produce collars that suitable both for dogs and cats. But in our opinion they are more focused on dogs. There are few other smart collars available on the market, but again most of them are for dogs, not cats. We know that dogs and cats have different needs, so that’s why we decided to be focused only on one type of animals. Our focus in this version of the collar is health, not GPS location (like most of current collars offer).
What is your perfect buyer persona? Who buys and uses Moggie?
Right now we are targeting mostly Scandinavian countries and the UK, but of course main market is US. As for our perfect buyer – these are young couples, mostly females that live in big cities, have cats, work a lot, but still want to be responsible pet owners.
Were there any early ‘growth hacks’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?
As two co-founders moved to Sweden from Ukraine it was challenge to build network from very beginning. The same with one more team member who is located in Madrid. So we attended almost all possible startup events. Of course it was time consuming and we don’t do it anymore, but at that time it was very helpful for us. We have been nominated as a most promising startup in several categories. We also participated in a large accelerator program for IoT startups and we have exhibited at a few events (both for startups and cat owners).
What were some of the biggest challenges while building the product early on and how did you solve them?
We have challenges every day! It is our unofficial motto. At the beginning the main challenge was to understand how exactly we need to build our device and what skills we lack. The big challenge was that none of the three co-founders was a developer. But thanks to our personal network we managed this problem. Other big challenge was to find find money. But in Sweden there are few organisations that support startups with “free money”, so in fact it didn’t appear as a big problem in the end.
If you could give a marketing advice to other companies, what could it be based on your experience?
From our own experience – it is important to remember about balance between marketing/product development/development in the startup in general. You should pay attention to all areas.
Which marketing channels you prefer and why?
For us Instagram works better than other channels. Our target audience is more active there. But in any way we are using different channels of communication and always glad to try out something new, depending on our aim.
Are you partnered with other products or companies?
Yes. Right now we started project with pet food producer from Spain and cooperation with agricultural university from Sweden.
Stockholm based company called Imagimob (by the way they became one of the best startups last year in Sweden) is our partner in developing our algorithm.
What are a few services you use in your company (marketing, development, business) and why do you like them?
- Slack – we are distributed team, so we have most of our communication there (plus Skype and Hangouts)
- Favro – tool for planning and collaboration (something like Trello).