We’ve all seen the countless posts of heartbroken lost pet owners on social media. When GPS tracking costs less than apartment insurance or your Spotify membership, why aren’t more people using it?
This past week Fi Collar announced a recent raise of $30 million. Fi has a really compelling value proposition for consumers… always know where your dog is. For active pets, it feels wild that we can’t track their whereabouts more easily. After all, how is this theoretically any different than attaching an Apple iWatch to your dog. The technology exists and is small enough to be user friendly.
Enter Fi Collar
Fi offers users a durable, easy to use tracking system that is long-lasting.
Why this company is interesting?
Value prop: Track your dog. Anywhere. Any time. The smartest dog collar ever built.
Founding team understands how users feel about their home, security and favorite things: Loren Kirkby (CTO, previously early team at Nest/Dropcam) & Jonathan Bensamoun (CEO, previously VP Product at Handy)
What Fi Offers
At a super high level, Fi offers users a range of features that are more focused on the active dog lifestyle.
After looking at the space, it was interesting to see the differences in the other players. When building a product, the only features that matter at the ones that your customer is interested in - which is why it makes it possible for multiple strong players to succeed in the market.
I see this market as potentially being similar to home security cameras with a couple big players (Nest and Ring) and then several peripheral players. Similar to security cameras, people will have considerations like:
Security (e.g. hacking, not robberies)
Fi collar has several differentiating factors including their use of LTE-M technology that enables low power, long distance communication.
So there’s a lot in that table - but here are my takeaways.
Fi is doing something right in terms of Instagram engagement. I think it ties to the brand values of enabling very active pets… which is supported by a leaderboard that allows you to see rankings.
Whistle is miles above in terms on FB followers. This is not a researched statement, but I wonder how that correlates to their influencer marketing partnerships. I’ve previously noticed them doing campaigns with several home / DIY type accounts.
Jiobit has some untapped potential. They are more known for a broad ranging of tracking devices (including kids and elderly) that could help create a compelling ecosystem.
Given the way these products work, reviews need to be considered across the marketplace purchasing experience (Amazon, Chewy) as well as actual user engagement experience. The twist here is I wonder how many users are even checking the Apple store reviews before making a purchase.
Fi is not on Amazon where it seems a bulk of the reviews take place. Given Chewy’s industry leading position in the pet space I was initially surprised to see how low the review count was.
Interesting that Fi has more Apple reviews than all of the others combined across. Signals to me a lot of a mix of untapped brand awareness.
I was curious to see what the potential resale market was like for this technology. Yes, Whistle has the most social media followers but they also have the most for sale on eBay. In general people don’t sell things they love.
There is a lot more to think about for this product category. It is not as simple as does the light switch work. There is a decent amount of user education that might need to occur before a purchasing decision is made. I could see Fi potentially living in retailers that support active lifestyles (REI, Thule, Patagonia).