iCPooch expands into retail stores
iCPooch sees increase in sales in recent weeksDecember 4th, 2014
Spokane-based technology company iCPooch, which was launched in 2012 by then 12-year-old Brooke Martin, of Spokane, has experienced a jump in sales and is launching in retail stores in addition to being available online, says Chris Martin, the company’s chief operating officer and Brooke Martin’s father.
“It’s going through the roof right now,” Chris Martin says. “We’re back-ordered, and we have another product run scheduled for the end of this month.”
iCPooch is a division of Bondgy Inc., a technology company the Martins created to commercialize the iCPooch product. Prior to co-founding Bondgy, Chris Martin spent nine years as the executive director of First Night Spokane, the local New Year’s Eve arts and entertainment festival, which he also co-founded.
The iCPooch device typically is placed on a floor and includes a flat screen. It enables pet owners to interact remotely with a pet using a smart phone or tablet and wireless Internet. Using an app on their phone, a pet owner also can dispense a treat to a pet through the device. Users can download a free application for the device onto their phones or tablets from Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store.
The product also has been experiencing a social media boom lately, Martin says. A customer posted a video on YouTube with the product, he says, which so far has garnered 1.2 million views.
“It’s really ramping up very quickly,” he says.
iCPooch is available through its own website and through Seattle-based online retailer Amazon.com, Martin says. It’s also available on the website of Union, N.J.-based domestic merchandise retailer Bed Bath & Beyond, which also is testing the product in-store in nine of its locations, he says. The iCPooch product currently retails for $129.99 to $149.99, depending on the retailer.
“We’re also finalizing our contract with Petco,” Martin says.
The product is available in Canada through its own website and Amazon, and in Europe through Amazon, Martin says, and the company is looking to expand to Asia and other markets in the future.
iCPooch is headquartered in a small office at the McKinstry Innovation Center, at 850 E. Spokane Falls Blvd. The customer and sales support for the company are based there, Martin says.
Martin says the company contracts with Spokane Valley-based Servatron Inc., located at 12825 Mirabeau Parkway, to handle production of the product’s circuit boards, and also to do the product testing, assembly, packaging, and shipping.
The company also has a contract with Deer Valley bakery Kritter Kookies, Martin says, to make its signature pet treats that come with the product.
“They manufacture and package private-label treats for us that are designed really efficiently to work with the device,” Martin says.
Reiff Injection Molding, also of Spokane, manufactures the plastic parts for the device, Martin says. Spokane software company Limelyte Technology Group Inc. is the software developer for iCPooch, he says.
“It’s really cool that we’re able to do all this in Spokane,” Martin says. “People are really excited to find out we’re not doing this in China.”
iCPooch has three dedicated employees outside of its contractors, Martin says: him, CEO James Pelland, and Brooke Martin, who is 14 years old now and acts as the company’s spokeswoman while attending Ferris High School on the South Hill.
Martin says he’s also starting to reach out to large home-health care entities to discuss further implications for the iCPooch device, such as dispensing medication remotely.
“So if you have a grandparent or parent at home that was having trouble remembering to take medication, you could call and the device would auto-answer,” he says. “They could then see you and you could see them, and push a button and actually dispense to them.”
The device also could work as a way to check in on someone at home, Martin says.
“It might not be just for medication, it could be just for checking in,” he says. “It’s a communication method as well as a way to dispense product.”
Martin says the company is focused mostly on the pet industry, for now.
“But, we understand there’s a great opportunity (with home health) to connect with another large company who could take that ball and really run with it,” he says.
Martin says the company might look at producing different-sized devices in the future as well.
“We’re possibly looking at other adaptations, but that’s very expensive because the parts are injection-molded,” he says. “It’s something to look at as we grow, but at this junction, we’ve got a product that functions and we’re looking at expanding that product.”
Brooke Martin was awarded the top prize in the “Inventions We Love” contest at the Geekwire Tech Summit in Seattle in October. She also was a presenter at that summit, as well as at pet food company Nestle Purina PetCare Co.’s Better with Pets Summit, held in New York City in October.