Interview: How To Thrive On Pet Tech Trends
Yaroslav Azhnyuk, who makes the laser-enabled smart camera Petcube, explains how an entrepreneur is reacting to pet tech trends
As people seek to replace—or at least complement—the love and attention of other humans with those of pets, they’ll seek new technology solutions like Petcube, a camera that lets people watch and interact with pets while they are at work. PSFK founder and editor-in-chief Piers Fawkes recently ran a podcast that looks at the sector. As part of the episode, he spoke to to Yaroslav Azhnyuk of Petcube to understand how an entrepreneur in the space is reacting to pet tech trends.
Yaroslav: Millennials are delaying the time when they will be ready to have kids. Instead, they’re having pets. Pets are the new babies in a way. They kind of fulfill the same needs of unconditional love and having a live being to care about.
A similar trend is that for empty-nesters in their 40s and 50s there tends to be a surge in pet ownership. Again, they want ‘kids’ to care about.
Piers: What sort of technology trends are driving the sector?
Yaroslav: As far as connected home goes and smart home devices, we’ve actually seen two big waves. One big wave was maybe three or four years ago, when early adopters went for smart cameras and thermostats.
Then in 2016, we saw all these smart voice assistants. Alexa currently has about 75% of that market and is selling over 20 million of those devices. Definitely, this new wave accelerates progress in many other areas.
How do pet tech trends impact your business?
For Petcube, we are basically a specialized home camera. If you’re looking for a home camera and you have a pet, that’s the best home camera you can buy at Petcube.
What we’re seeing from research is that many people are actually using home cameras to watch their pets. It’s a really significant number. It is an interesting category for us.
I also think that voice assistants are becoming the center for connected home, and they really provide a convenient interface to control your home appliances. That’s why we integrated with Amazon Alexa and with Amazon Dash for Petcube Bites to refill treats. There will be a lot of interesting things along this road integrating with Amazon.
One of the things in pet tech trends that we’ve also noticed is this idea of an ecosystem of products and services offered by a pet brand. Is that something that you see happening? Is that something that interests your business?
I’m not sure we are at that point currently. The thing is it is still a very fast growing market, and there are still so many people that could benefit from all these fun devices but don’t have one that most of the companies are focused on growth and getting into more households.
I don’t see that many companies on the market that are providing these platform solutions or integrations like a network of devices as big competitive advantage. I think it’s going to happen, but just somewhere in the future.
Listen to more pet tech trends experts in our recent PurpleList podcast ‘Living Alongside Pets.’ More insights on the topic can be found in the PSFK Research Paper Enhancing Pet Ownership, Care & Experience.
Before you start filling up your calendars with conferences to spark your business innovation and personal growth this year, add CXI 2018 conference to your wish list! For its 12th year running, PSFK is hosting an intimate conference where emerging pioneers and established experts will take the stage to discuss all things innovation around the new consumer experience.
Deena Varshavskaya is the founder and CEO of Wanelo (“wah-nee-lo,” from Want, Need, Love), the world’s largest mall, curated by people. Millions of shoppers use Wanelo to discover and buy from over 20 million products and over 350,000 stores, which include big brands and independent boutiques and sellers you’ve never heard of, all in one place on your phone. Deena started Wanelo after being frustrated with shopping in traditional malls. Her personal style didn’t fit a simple category, and she wanted to shop in more unique places. She decided to create a social network that would make it easy to discover amazing stores and products from anywhere online. Deena worked on Wanelo for more than two years using her personal savings to build the site and attract its first users. In 2011, she moved to San Francisco, and she launched Wanelo in 2012 after receiving 40 investor rejections before finally closing her first round of funding. Deena has been named one of the "Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs" for two years in a row by Goldman Sachs and was recognized by Forbes as one of "The Power Women Who Are Reinventing The Way You Shop Fashion Online." She has also been highlighted in Fast Company’s "Most Creative People in Business" list and is named as one of 15 “up-and-comers to keep an eye on” in Vanity Fair’s "Next Establishment" list. The National Retail Federation recently recognized Deena as an “Influencer” reshaping the retail industry. Originally from Siberia, Deena moved to the U.S. at the age of 16 and dropped out of Cornell University two classes short of graduating. She currently lives in San Francisco and can be followed on Wanelo, Twitter and Instagram at @siberianfruit. Check out her exclusive interview with PSFK & HP/HP Matter here!
Bobby Jones, Chief Marketing Officer at Peace First and co-author of Good Is The New Cool, shares his guidelines for marketing to a new generation of socially conscious consumers