Pet Monitor Whistle Buys GPS Tracking Service, Lands $15M

Pet-tech company Whistle is adding location tracking to its bag of tricks, announcing this morning the acquisition of Tagg, a pet GPS tracking system. No price was disclosed.

Whistle simultaneously announced a $15 million Series B venture capital round led by Nokia Growth Partners, which the company plans to use to develop its product line and for other business growth. Tagg’s GPS tracking will add an alert function to Whistle’s system, which will notify the pet owner if the animal seems to be lost. Almost 10 million pets go missing annually, Whistle said in a statement.

While some may enjoy Whistle—which uses a collar-mounted device to keep tabs on a pet’s daily activity— purely purely because of the voyeuristic journey into their pets life by tracking the animals daily activity, the Whistle app also helps owners track health, such as when animals need to take medication and whether they’re getting enough activity.

Animal-focused companies have made headlines in recent years as investors seek to tap into the $61 billion pet owners spend annually.

Whistle raised a $6 million Series A round in 2013, when Xconomy’s Joao-Pierre S. Ruth had a chance to catch up with the company’s co-founder, Steven Eidelman. There are other dog activity monitors, such as FitBark, as well as a monthly delivery service that sends doggie goodies, called BarkBox. Instacart, the grocery-delivery startup, threw itself into the mix by partnering with pet-good store Petco earlier this month.

The company that sold Tagg to Whistle, Qualcomm, participated in the Series B investment. So did New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Grammy-nominated artist Nasir “Nas” Jones. Anthony founded Melo7 Tech Partners with Stuart Goldfarb in 2013 to invest in companies like this, especially as he prepares for having a life after basketball someday, which ESPN discussed in great detail last year.

Nas is by no means new to the game either, with his Queensbridge Venture Partners investing in a wide-ranging list of companies.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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