Austrian Pet Tracker Company Tractive Is Expanding in Seattle After New Funding

by Gordon Gottsegen
May 26, 2021
Tractive GPS tracker on dog's collar
Photo: Tractive

If you’ve ever had a pet, you know how strong that bond can be. It’s something that people all over the world can relate to. And so is the dread you feel when your pet goes missing.

Pet tracker company Tractive launched in Austria in 2012 so pet owners would never have to experience that sinking feeling of losing your pet. The company designed a GPS tracking device that goes on the collar of a cat or dog and provides real-time location information to the owner’s phone. Tractive’s pet trackers have grown in popularity across Europe in the years following its launch. Currently, Tractive serves over 400,000 customers across 175 countries.

Now Tractive is raising new funding to expand in the largest pet market in the world — the United States.

On Wednesday, Tractive announced that it raised a $35 million growth funding round led by Guidepost Growth Equity. This is Tractive’s first funding round since it started selling devices in 2013 and is intended to help Tractive expand in the U.S. market. Tractive has been cash flow positive since it first launched.

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There are several things that make Tractive competitive in the pet tracking space. Its pet tracker costs $50, which is more affordable than other GPS pet trackers that can cost $100 or more. It works with multiple cellular networks — including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and more — so it has access to whatever network has the best coverage in the customer’s location. And it has a new power-saving feature that helps the tracker’s battery last for about 10 days between charges. Tractive’s device also has several activity tracking metrics, to make sure the owner’s dog or cat is living a healthy life.

Tractive device and app screenshot
Photo: Tractive

Tractive had a soft launch for its device in the U.S. in June of 2020, and it already looks like the U.S. will become Tractive’s largest market at some point in 2021. According to Andrew Bleiman, Tractive’s executive vice president for North America, this isn’t surprising. People in the U.S. spend more money on their pets than any other country in the world, he says. And trends during the COVID-19 pandemic have pet owners spending even more on their furry friends.

“The U.S. is the biggest pet market in the world, yet the awareness of pet GPS tracking is incredibly low. There are about 100 million dogs in the United States, and only a tiny, tiny fraction of pet owners are using GPS tracking,” Bleiman told Built In. “Lots of people struggle with dogs running away and retrieving them. In the U.S., a third of all pets will run away during their lifetime.”

He continued: “There’s a tremendous number of pet owners in the U.S. and we think there’s a huge opportunity in sharing this relatively new technology with folks.”

In order to help with this U.S. growth, Tractive is building out its company presence in Seattle. Bleiman is based in Seattle and has a few people working under him, but this funding will help the company add another 10 to 12 people to the team by the end of the year. Tractive is hiring for all sorts of roles, including ones for marketing, partnerships, market research and design. Bleiman says that the company is about to open up an office in Seattle, and has its eyes set on a location in Ballard.

Bleiman has already had some luck finding people in Seattle to join the team, and he expects this to continue due to the number of pet lovers in the area.

“Seattle’s a natural choice for Tractive. Beyond being a great tech hub in general, it’s a pet tech hub too,” he added. “Rover, Trupanion and others have done a great job of bringing out people who are passionate about pets, and who are also passionate about consumer technology.”

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