FitBark presents at Animal Health Forum, on the lookout for KC talent

KANSAS CITY—Since their Sprint Accelerator demo day, it seems like animal health startup FitBark has been barking up the right trees. In fact, last week the startup's founder Davide Rossi presented at the Kansas City Area Development Council's Animal Health Investment Forum, an annual gathering of companies in the animal health industry to explore new

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KANSAS CITY—Since their Sprint Accelerator demo day, it seems like animal health startup FitBark has been barking up the right trees.

In fact, last week the startup’s founder Davide Rossi presented at the Kansas City Area Development Council’s Animal Health Investment Forum, an annual gathering of companies in the animal health industry to explore new and innovative practices.

“For companies like us who kind of fit in the intersection of tech and animal health, it was an awesome networking event and great way to establish contacts with so many great folks,” Rossi told SPN.

The startup’s hardware—think a Fitbit, but to record your canine companion’s activity levels—allows dog owners and even animal health specialists to track a pet’s activity and more easily notice if something isn’t right. The team is running a small private beta with dogs and their owners in the Kansas City area.

In the right place

Kansas City’s Animal Health Corridor, anchored by Manhattan, Kan., and Columbia, Mo., is home to more than 300 animal health-related companies. In fact, it’s one of the reasons Rossi says he and his team decided to stay in Kansas City after their run in the Sprint Accelerator.

Companies presenting during the Forum were seeking anywhere from $500,000 to $20 million in funding and were required to have revenue projections of at least $20 million within five to seven years. Rossi says the connections made with animal pharmaceutical companies during the event were especially valuable because many would be interested in partnering with FitBark to help prove the effectiveness of their respective products.

Where are the developers?

As FitBark continues to grow in Kansas City, Rossi says one of the largest hurdles he and his team have faced is finding available developers to help them build and scale their product. He’s not sure if there is, in fact, a shortage of developers in KC or if many are simply hesitant to leave larger companies for work at a startup.

“If there’s one wish that I have, it’s to see that attitude change a little bit because working for a startup, especially a startup that has been funded, at the end of the day isn’t that risky,” Rossi said.

Rossi says he also hopes to see more animal health-focused startups in the second class of the Sprint Accelerator. In the inaugural class, FitBark was the only such venture, but especially given the extensive network of animal health and pharmaceutical corporations based in KC, Rossi says he’d like to see that change in the future.

 

Read more about FitBark through our previous coverage: “You heard right: FitBark is a Fitbit, but for your canine companion.”

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