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Companion brings in $6M for its AI-powered device to help detect dog’s emotional and physical needs

Picture credits: Companion

Companion, a San-Francisco-based AI-powered interactive device for dogs, has secured $6M in additional funding from Lerer Hippeau and Digitalis Ventures, bringing the total fund to over $14M. 

Besides funding, the company has also opened its product to the public for reservation. 

“We all want to better understand our dogs and we’ve only been able to scratch the surface of what our dogs are communicating to us. We built a device that can automatically have a conversation with your dog, bringing it joy for hours a day and a brand new life at home,” said Companion Founder, John Honchariw. 

“Dogs primarily communicate with movement and posture, whether it’s conscious communication like your dog sitting by the door to go outside or unconscious communication like how your dog slowly changes its back and neck position. We miss the vast majority of these signals – machines don’t. We’re thrilled to be joined by investors who are leaders in pet care with deep expertise in the consumer technology space, and to officially open reservations that will soon give pet parents an entirely new way of connecting with their dogs,” said Honchariw.

Communicate with dogs

Founded by John Honchariw, Companion is the first device of its kind that uses AI hardware, machine learning, and positive reinforcement techniques to interact with dogs at home for hours a day. 

It provides scheduled and on-demand engagement for dogs with games, behavioral programs, and training. 

The device uses this activity to look for sudden or subtle shifts in a dog’s movement or posture, which can indicate pain, anxiety, or stress that are often difficult to detect.

The Companion device includes a camera, onboard computer, AI software, and a treat dispenser that can react and “converse” with dogs at superhuman speeds and consistency, using the pet parent’s voice. 

The Companion app allows users to start and schedule sessions, and receive bespoke videos of their dog learning, as well as updates on their dog’s improving skills. 

The machine’s infinite patience, precision, perfect memory, and consistency make it the perfect device to observe what a dog is communicating through its movement and posture.

The company says it took years of research and development, working with over 1,000 dogs over the last five years to perfect its product. 

“Companion revolutionises the pet/pet parent relationship and fundamentally changes how dogs can receive continuous training at home,” said Ben Lerer, Managing Partner at Lerer Hippeau. “Companion’s team of computer vision and hardware experts are creating an extremely precise product geared toward assessing and improving all aspects of a pet’s behaviour and quality of life – bringing peace of mind and satisfaction to pets and parents alike.”

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