February 3, 2015

Pet Fitbit maker Whistle acquires competitor Tagg

One of the Super Bowl's most popular ads, a spot by Budweiser, featured a lost dog who wandered through the snow in search of his owner. With the rise of wearable pet technology, finding lost pets is becoming easier, and the tech sphere has made room for several key players in development. 

In 2013, Whistle launched its Fitbit for dogs, and announced this week that it will acquire a major competitor, Tagg. According to TechCrunch, this adds $15 million in capital to Whistle's business model, thanks to backers who've helped elevate Tagg with major investments. 

Whistle's success has been documented through its expansion to major pet supply chains like PetSmart, which distributes its hardware around the world. It's main product is a small chip that can be attached to the collar of a pet, allowing for GPS location in the event that a pet goes missing. Recently, the company expanded its portfolio to include WhistleGPS, which combines GPS location and cellular technology to provide an even more accurate update on a chip's location. 

On the research, development and distribution front, Tagg is slightly ahead of Whistle for that specific item, which it currently sells on the market. WhistleGPS, by comparison, has been slated for a commercial release late this year. By joining forces, the two competitors can combine their footprint and know-how to attack the demand for pet locators as a unified front. 

With similar tech gadgets and different labels, the next big phase of acquisition strategy will be product integration, combining the best aspects of both ranges under one brand. In the meantime, customers who've expressed interest in WhistleGPS can explore the existing Tagg items, satisfying demand and preparing for seamless convergence.