Iams, Pedigree pet food company acquires dog fitness tracking startup Whistle

By Aditi Pai
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San Francisco-based pet fitness tracking company Whistle was acquired by Mars Petcare, maker of pet food brands like Iams, Pedigree, and Whiskas, according to TechCrunch. The deal was close to $117 million, according to Bloomberg. Mars Petcare is a subsidiary of Mars, a candy maker that sells 29 brands of candy including M&Ms, Dove, Snickers, and Twix.

Whistle has raised $21 million to date. The company’s investors include DCM Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners, Melo7 Tech Partners, Qualcomm, and Queensbridge Venture Partners.

The company has developed a smart collar that people can use to track their dog’s location and activity. Data from the collar is sent to a companion app that helps users pinpoint their dog’s location. The app also shows users a history of the dog’s activity and sleep patterns.

“Whistle is excited to join the Mars Petcare family,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch. “This opportunity connects the industry’s global and technology leaders, enabling a new era of pet care. Mars Petcare and Whistle shared a core belief around the importance of pets in our lives, and we look forward to connecting nutrition, healthcare, and technology to improve the lives of pets and their families.” 

Last year, in August, Whistle appointed former Basis CEO Jef Holove to its board of directors. Holove has been a general manager in Intel's New Devices Group since that company acquired Basis in 2014.

Although Whistle is designed for pets, its acquisition follows a growing trend in the world of human digital health, namely retailers buying digital health and wellness tools. Most of the acquisitions involve app companies, including Asics’ acquisition of Runkeeper, The Honest Company’s acquisition of Alt12Apps, and Adidas’ Runtastic acquisition. And earlier this year, Mattel, a toy manufacturing giant based in Segundo, California, acquired San Francisco-based Sproutling, which has developed a health sensing wearable device for babies.