Figo brings home $4M to spur development of mobile tech for pet owners

Figo CEO Rusty Sproat

Demand for pet health insurance is growing by leaps and bounds, and animal health startup Figo is riding the wave of change. The company raked in $4 million in a Series A round to support development of its cloud technology and mobile app for pet owners.

Figo, which has now raised $8 million to date, will use the funds to flesh out its Pet Cloud technology platform and accompanying mobile app. "Securing our A-round of capital will allow us to continue our focus on our innovative technology, which makes life easier for people and their pets," Figo president and founder Rusty Sproat said in a statement.

The Chicago-based company has big plans for Pet Cloud. The platform includes real-time pet GPS tracking, mobile records storage and a geographical service that pinpoints nearby pet-friendly locations. The new app will also have features that allow pet owners to connect, upload photos and rate pet-friendly businesses.

Anyone will be able to use the app for free, regardless of whether they've insured their pet with Figo, Sproat said.

The latest funding is a feather in Figo's cap as it continues to make headway with its business. In April, the company raised $3.9 million in private investments and launched its new pet insurance product.

Figo, which launched out of Chicago's 1871 technology hub, wants to challenge business models laid out by rivals Trupanion ($TRUP) and pet-insurance heavyweight VPI. To do that, it's focusing on offering pet owners more flexibility, broad coverage and a sophisticated technology platform, Sproat told FierceAnimalHealth last April.

The company offers three different plans, including one with $10,000 a year in benefits, another with $14,000 and one with unlimited reimbursements. Pet owners can choose from four deductibles ranging from $50 to $500 and four reimbursement amounts from 70% to 100%.

But technology "is really where we hope to stand out from everyone else in this space," Sproat said. The company's app helps pet owners find related services and sends reminders on the cloud about vaccinations and appointments.

"What we saw was a lack of technology being offered to make it easier to manage your pet's life," Sproat said. "Figo is a platform that puts the entire life of your pet in the palm of your hand."

The company's products are hitting the market at a pivotal moment. The pet insurance industry brings in about $721 million in revenues per year and is expected to grow 6.8% a year for the next 5 years, according to a report issued last year by market researcher IBISWorld.

- read the statement