We tend to think of technology in terms of gadgetry. If it isn’t as complex as rocket science, then it’s not tech. However, in the well-known Macroeconomics text co-authored by the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman, the point is made that technological progress, the factor most responsible for economic growth, has depended on rather mundane innovations such as the flat-bottomed paper bag (patented in 1870) and the Post-it note (introduced in 1981). Technology is not all about bells and whistles; it’s about ideas. And innovative ideas make up the foundation on which OurPet’s Company (OTCQX: OPCO) was built.
In a recent MissionIR OPCO interview (http://dtn.fm/uZK5M), co-founder Dr. Steve Tsengas remarked that one of the main rationales behind the founding of OurPet’s Company in 1994 was the lack of innovation in the pet industry at that time. In fact, so intent on the knowledge-based aspect of the enterprise were its co-founders, Dr. Steve Tsengas and Dean Tsengas, that they decided to focus on generating new, improved solutions for pet owners and ways of getting product to market rather than manufacturing. So, on the one hand, OurPet’s Company concentrates on innovation and design, and, on the other, on marketing and distributing its product line.
OurPet’s Company began as a one-product company. Its OurPets® Big Dog Feeder® was introduced at a classic pet show in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1994. After sales of $6,500 in three days, the founders realized that their insight of the need for innovation in the industry was right on point. The OurPets® Big Dog Feeder® makes it easier for big dogs to eat by elevating the feeding bowl. It is also a much healthier way for them to eat. Feeding from a bowl at ground level may compromise their physical structure, leading to arthritis at the joints.
Since then, OurPet’s Company has gone from a start-up with one product and annual sales of $100,000 to a publicly-traded company with over a thousand products and annual revenues reaching for $30 million. The company also has a potent IP pipeline of some 30 or so products and an IP portfolio of about 160 patents.
The confluence of ideas that has created such experimental and operational energy at OurPet’s Company is derived from two main streams. First, Dr. Steve Tsengas must confess to being a serial entrepreneur. He has been elected to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, to be a member of which ‘the inventor must have had a U.S. patent that has improved the welfare of humanity and promoted the progress of science and technology’. He has started seven other companies, all, save one, successfully, and has, in the process, accumulated a rich variety of experience and expertise in engineering, electronics, plastics and rubber technologies. Second, his love of pets has driven an academic interest in the pathologies that, unfortunately, accompany their aging. He holds a PhD in naturopathic medicine with a specialty in pet geriatrics and animal behavior. The combination of Dr. Tsengas’s engineering expertise with his knowledge of animal physiology is exploiting market opportunities.
In spite of its successful launch with the relatively low-tech OurPets® Big Dog Feeder®, OurPet’s Company is just as much high-tech. In July 2015, OurPets® Catty Whack® received the Best New Cat Product Showcase Award at the pet supply industry trade show, SuperZoo. OurPets® Catty Whack® is an unpredictable game of hide and seek designed for cats of all ages. Cats love the electronic RealMouse® sound and the erratic movement of the feather keeps the cat guessing as it darts in and out at random. On the top of the Catty Whack® there is a carpeted scratching area where cats can groom their claws on a texture that they find satisfying. The bottom of the toy has non-skid rubber feet, which keeps the toy from sliding. There is also an auto-shut off feature and a replacement feather prey wand is included.
Building on this progress, last month, OurPet’s Company introduced its Intelligent Pet Care™ product line at the Global Pet Expo. Intelligent Pet Care™ products use Bluetooth technology to communicate information to pet owners’ smartphones about their pets. The company also displayed its Whirling Wiggler™ Spinner Toy, new waste management products, and new designs for its bowl and feeder line. With all of this in mind, it’s clear that OurPet’s Company is not high-tech or low-tech. OurPet’s Company is all-tech.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.ourpets.com
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