Michael Friedman is a Co-Founder of Petronics and holds an MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois. Michael’s expertise is in product development, manufacturing, and marketing. He also owns four cats.
Describe the company – the elevator pitch:
Petronics / Sprite Robotics builds small robots that bring people and pets closer together. Our first product, Mousr, is an autonomous robot that is designed to entertain cats.
How are you different?
There aren’t a lot of companies working on robotics for pets and even fewer working on toys. Our focus is bringing a great user experience to both the human and the pet. Too often products are made for the convenience of a pet owner, without really understanding the needs of the pet. Our deep experience in not only in engineering, but with cats and cat play has led us to design something unique.
Why will you do well?
Our philosophy is to build robots that are focused on a core user need. Home robotics has stumbled after the introduction of the robot vacuum because the products have been too broad “do everything” products, rather than executing one task really well.
Where are you based?
We’re based in Champaign, IL
When was the company launched?
Petronics launched in 2014
What have been your biggest wins to date?
We’re just getting started, but we’ve been able to raise $2.5 million in investment, $1 million in research funding from the National Science Foundation, and we just launched as a vendor on Amazon.
Who are you trying to attract to your product?
Cat lovers everywhere.
What tips would you give to others looking to build their business?
Don’t skip the start-up fundamentals. Make sure you are building something someone wants and that delivers value to them.
Tell us about your team?
Petronics is an engineering focused company. Most of our employees have an MS or PhD in Electrical Engineering. Our expertise is in small robotics and autonomous navigation in the home.
What are your plans for the future?
Our goals are to broaden the usefulness of our small robots to helping children and eventually the elderly.
What are your favourite tech gadgets?
We love toys, from robots for kids like Lego Mindstorms, to adult toys like the DJI Mavic Air.
Anything else you’d like to add/we should have asked?
When is Mousr coming to Ireland? Mousr can currently be ordered directly on our website and will be coming to Amazon in the EU and UK in 2019.
How do people get in touch with you?
Public: [email protected]
Or, on any of our social media channels: