Dog-friendly Denver startup raises $150K

PuppTech makes a temperature-monitoring sensor for dog owners. (PuppTech)

Investors have decided to throw a bone to a dog-friendly Denver startup.

PuppTech, which makes a temperature-monitoring sensor for owners who leave their dogs in parked cars, has raised $150,000, according to SEC filings.

Founder William Loopesko said it will use the funding for further engineering and product development, and to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

“Most of what we plan to use it for is to promote and build our crowdfunding campaign, which is coming up in just a few weeks,” Loopesko said.

Three investors one based in Colorado contributed to PuppTech’s first funding round.

Loopesko, 30, grew up in Denver and attended Bates College in Maine for geology. He later received a master’s degree in engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and worked for Leonard Rice Engineers.

Loopesko said the product resulted from taking his dog Clovis on hikes and camping trips. He hated leaving Clovis in the car at stops for gas or food, and worried about how hot the dog was getting.

After trying to manufacture a cooler, a year ago he decided to focus on related software, intended to allow dog owners to monitor car temperatures remotely.

The $150 PuppComm is a small sensor that connects to a phone app to alert the dog owner of the temperature in the car. Loopesko has made 25 PuppComms since January, and is sending them to customers next week.

“Right now, we’re just manufacturing in my house with a 3D printer and a hot glue gun,” he said.

PuppTech also provides customers with car stickers that let passersby know the dog inside is safe. Passersby can text a code on the car sticker and PuppTech will send an automated message showing the temperature inside, Loopesko said. The PuppTech app is free, but comes with a $5 monthly data charge.

In May of 2017, the startup organization TiE Global Summit named PuppTech one of the top 50 startups in the world. Loopesko competed in a pool of 3,600 startup applicants.

“We were hoping to ride that momentum into a fundraising round,” Loopesko said. “Ultimately the deal fell apart because they didn’t consider us to be far enough along with the product.”

Since Loopesko didn’t have the funds to pay engineers, he taught himself iOS development, 3-D printing and soldering to make PuppComm prototypes. The startup now has three part-time employees and a desk at Galvanize.

With PuppTech’s Indiegogo campaign, Loopesko hopes to make $200,000 for 1,300 units.

“Manufacturing is really expensive, and given how much trouble it was raising money from investors, crowdfunding is a great way for us to show market viability and raise a lot of equity without having to spend a year raising and pitching to investors,” he said.

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Rick
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But if it’s hot outside you don’t need a monitor to know that it’s not ok to leave your dog in the car.