Veterinarians use urine tests to monitor a variety of conditions in dogs and cats, including bladder stones, diabetes and liver disease. Entrepreneur Stephen Chen has long believed that pet owners should be able to monitor those diseases in between vet visits with a simple at-home urine testing kit for their pets--and he persuaded two of the investors on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank to help him build that market.
On the episode that aired April 15, Chen won $300,000 for his startup, Petnostics, from sharks Lori Greiner and Kevin O'Leary. The pair will receive 20% equity in the Los Angeles-based company in exchange. Chen's pitch featured his own dog, Austin, who charmed the judges as they examined Petnostics' product.
Chen initially hoped to give up only 10% equity, but he was still thrilled with the outcome. “Petnostics started as a project to replicate diagnostic lab testing on mobile devices,” said Chen, who is himself a dog owner, in a press release. “Winning on Shark Tank and having Lori and Kevin wanting to invest in us is further validation” of the idea, he added.
The $10 Petnostics kit consists of a plastic cup with a lid that has a urine test strip built into it. Owners collect urine in the cup then turn it over to activate the test strip. An accompanying smartphone app helps owners interpret the results. Petnostics also markets a type of cat litter that simplifies urine collection, as well as a scoop owners can hold under their dogs to collect urine. (Both cost $15.)
After Chen appeared on Shark Tank, Chen locked up a partnership with distributor and manufacturer Fetch for Pets, which supplies products to retailers. Petnostics is also working on a pilot test with a producer of pet food, treats and litter, according to the release, which did not name the company.
- here’s the press release
Pawprint looks to make its mark with EMR-based mobile app for pet owners
Veterinarian turns dog owner's tragedy into cloud-based EHR for pets
New pet-care apps arm owners, veterinarians with mobile diagnostic tools