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[00:00] Podcast begins
[03:07] Better chips & cheaper RFID tags with ID Systems
[08:39] Dog safety tech is behind the times
[13:59] Meeting Cesar Millan, dog whisperer & Halo Collar co-founder
[19:53] Chewy vs Halo & the quest for customer tech support
[27:52] Becoming the iPhone for dogs
What inspired the creation of Halo Collar after your work with ID Systems?
At a time of exponential growth for ID Systems, the first company Ken founded, tragedy struck and inspired the creation of the Halo Collar. Ruby, Ken’s niece’s rescue dog, escaped her Invisible Fence and was killed by a car. Heartbroken by the loss of such a sweet pup and disheartened by the lack of security in an Invisible Fence system, Ken saw an opportunity to incorporate the GPS tracking he was already using at ID Systems to protect family pets.
“I was astonished to learn that 10 million pets are lost every year and a million dogs are hit by a car. This is a problem that I believed I had the experience to solve because this is exactly what I was doing for forklifts, rental cars, and trailers, but there's no higher value asset than someone's dog.”
Tell me about your other founder that you actually went out and got for Halo Collar.
Halo Collar aims to provide an updated, mobile, customizable, and GPS-included version of the traditional Invisible Fence that dog owners are used to. However, to succeed in making this vision a reality, Ken knew that he needed a co-founder and partner that understood the needs of dogs and their owners. Enter Cesar Millan, the famed Dog Whisperer, who jumped on board to make the Halo Collar a success for all dog breeds and owners.
“Whatever asset you're tracking or monitoring, you need to really understand it. So, you have to be an expert in the asset. I knew there was no other expert in dogs other than Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer. I was committed to getting him early on in the process.”
Is there a failure during your journey with Halo Collar that you want to share with us?
A few failures have popped up on the Halo Collar journey so far, and Ken believes that one of the biggest was Halo Collar’s relationship with Chewy. Ken thought this would initially be an easy partnership, but soon realized there was little to gain from partnering with such a massive online retailer. Chewy had no physical stores to show off the Halo Collar to customers and, even more detrimental, could not provide any technical support to purchasers.
“We were an online retailer, we couldn't afford to have stores and malls across the country, so you're buying a direct to consumer product on our website. Chewy is also an online retailer, so [our relationship] didn't give an advantage to our customers of going into a store.”
How are you forging the future for technology companies with Halo Collar?
Halo Collar aims to be as revolutionary as an iPhone for dogs. Although this is a lofty goal, Ken wants to forge a future of safety for dogs and peace of mind for dog owners. Dogs shouldn’t be lost or killed in such preventable situations. Through continuing to innovate and expand their technology, Ken believes that Halo Collar will become an everyday necessity for dog owners nationwide and will change our relationship with our pets for the better.
“The vision for me is that every dog has a Halo Collar, and not really because it's my business, but because I know how tragic and unfortunate the current situation is. So, we want to be the iPhone for dogs, that is the vision and we've barely scratched the surface.”