Anser Innovation is on the fast track to move its first product from the drafting board to reality. The Burnsville start-up recently signed off on a deal with RiverStar, Inc. which will manufacture PetChatz, a telecommunications platform that will allow pet owners to keep in close contact with their pets 24-7.
PetChatz is internet-based device which enables pet owners to communicate with their furry family members remotely via computer, laptop, iPad or smart phone. Pet parents can have a Skype-style video chat with Rover, dispense treats with the click of a button and even emit comforting smells to keep their pet's attachment anxiety at bay until they return home. Owners can also turn on "spy mode," which allows them to monitor their pets activities and put a halt to any couch-trashing or garbage-eating antics.
"Our research shows that pet owners don't like leaving their pets home alone," Lisa Lavin, the co-founder and CEO of Anser Innovation told the Star Tribune in February. "Our goal with PetChatz is to create peace of mind."
Lavin said PetChatz is primarily marketed to dog owners, but can be used for cats as well. Lisa Lavin told Twin Cities Business that PetChatz is aimed at “seriously afflicted pet owners”—those who consider their cat or dog a family member and spend accordingly. About 30 percent of pet owners fall into this demographic, which has been known to spend two times more on their animals than less enthusiastic pet parents.
For this reason, the company called their intended customers a "recession proof market." Company research indicates that about 76 percent will be interested in the device.
Once on the market, PetChatz will cost between $200 and $300. The device will be available in Minnesota and online in early 2013. Anser hopes to roll out PetChatz nationwide a few months after its Minnesota debut.