Machine Learning

Companion Raises Funds to Use ML & Computer Vision to Talk to Dogs

Companion

The company has developed an in-home, dog-training product that helps humans communicate with and train their dog

Today, Companion announces $8M in Seed funding to transform how we train, engage and communicate with our dogs. The funding comes from leading institutional investors and VCs along with some of the largest pet companies and charities in the world. Participating investors include IA Ventures, Tuesday Capital, frog Design, Companion Fund, backed by Mars Petcare, Michelson Found Animals Foundation, Wheelhouse Partners, PETStock and Central Garden & Pet. The funding will be used to continue rolling out the device and coaching service to early adopters. You can sign up for early access here.

Companion makes it easier than ever for pet parents to engage and train their dog at home. The Companion device uses computer vision combined with machine learning to precisely detect and analyze dogs’ movements and behaviors. Using state-of-the-art positive reinforcement techniques, and its proprietary data and algorithms, the Companion rewards your dog for desired behaviors such as sit, down, stay and recall. Given Companion brings infinite patience and consistency to practicing positive behaviors, pet parents have the assurance that their dog will maintain these behaviors over time. Altogether, the dog’s experience with Companion refines trained behaviors into consistent and repeatable actions and serves as a powerful foundation for our integrated coaching service.

“The Companion is the first step in creating more understanding with all of the animals around us. We know understanding inherently drives empathy,” said John Honchariw, Companion CEO. “We help enable and foster extraordinarily deep bonds with the dogs we love…and this is just the start.”

By training basic obedience skills, Companion teaches independence and confidence and offers highly engaging activities for the dog. As pet parents return to work following COVID, they need proven solutions to engage their dog when they’re not at home and feel confident leaving their dogs.

“The Companion service is exactly what dog owners who are returning to the office need. The pandemic has brought about unprecedented dog adoption rates and as the world begins to move back to normal, those dogs are going to need a Companion to stay at home with them,” said Cofounder and Managing Partner at Tuesday Capital, Patrick Gallagher.

“Our collaboration is the result of a longstanding interest in Companion’s progress, and a deep conviction in the team and their vision,” said Ethan Imboden, VP and Head of Venture Design at frog. “With their technology, the Companion team is enabling a new depth of connection between humans and animals. We’ve been thrilled to have the opportunity to both enrich this relationship and strengthen the company through design.”

The technology has been privately offered in the SF Bay Area since 2018 and will begin shipping to select early adopters throughout 2021.

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