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Start-up gives dogs’ tags an upgrade

One dog owner says he can now keep tabs on his four-legged friend at all times just by checking his smartphone.

"I've been a dog owner most of my life, and we just always wondered what would happen if our dog got out. We didn't feel like there was a device out there that did everything needed to be done to protect dogs," Scott Neuberger told CNBC.

Neuberger is now the CEO of Tagg, a new tracking device he says can protect pets at all times, and also keep fido in shape.

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CNBC gave Neuberger 60 seconds to bark his big idea to a Power Pitch panel with dog training expert Andrea Arden, founder of Andrea Arden Dog Training, Wendy Diamond, Animal Fair magazine's editor-in-chief, and Rebeca Kaden, a principal at Maveron Venture Capital Firm. The segment is hosted by CNBC's Mandy Drury.

CNBC viewers also got a chance to vote during the segment. Did our audience show some puppy love for this pitch, or growl at the idea? Click the video above to see the results!

Man’s best friend

"Pets are part of our families. We treat them just like our children," Scott Neuberger told CNBC.

Power Pitch mascot Rider wearing his Tagg .
Source: Erin Barry
Power Pitch mascot Rider wearing his Tagg .

Like many pet parents, Neuberger said he always faced two major concerns: losing his pooch and keeping his pooch healthy.

The National Council of Pet Population Study and Policy and National Humane Society reported that a family pet is lost every two seconds. The study showed that more than 10 million pets are lost each year. According to a 2013 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 52.6 percent of U.S. dogs are overweight or obese.

Neuberger created Tagg to address these two key problems.

Tagging your dog

The Tagg device clips onto almost any dog collar and uses GPS and wireless technology to track your pet's location. Users create a safety zone around their home using the Tagg app. If the dog goes outside the designated area, an alert is sent out via Tagg's free iOS and Android apps. Tagg service is also available through its computer or mobile website.

In addition to tracking dogs, the device measures the amount of physical activity its paws are getting daily. Pet owners can set up activity goals and identify health trends via the app. Tagg's battery lasts between seven to 14 days depending on how often an owner tracks its dog.

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Tagg is used primarily by dog owners, but cat owners can use the device as well. The founder told CNBC Tagg is also being used on horses, elephants (yes, elephants) and eagles, including Auburn University 's mascot "The War Eagle," which wears a Tagg device on its tail to prevent the mascot from taking any unplanned flights.

Auburn University’s “The War Eagle” wearing a Tagg device.
Source: Auburn University via Tagg
Auburn University’s “The War Eagle” wearing a Tagg device.

The device retails at $99.95, with monthly service fees ranging from $7.95 to $9.85. It is sold online on the company's website and at Amazon.com. Tagg devices are also available at Verizon Wireless stores nationwide, vet clinics and independent pet retailers.

Surviving in a dog-eat-dog world

During the "Power Pitch" segment, panelist and Maveron Principal Rebecca Kaden asked how the company determined its business model for pricing the Tagg devices and its monthly services.

"We wanted to keep it economical for the widest market possible. That's why the $99 price point is there. It's the lowest price for a device that's on the market today," said Neuberger. "And, you know, $10, in the scheme of what we spend on our pets, and everything else, it's a couple of cups of coffee."

Yet, Tagg isn't the only wearable tech company catering to pet owners looking to keep track of their canines. Pet GPS tracker Garmin Astro is owned by publicly traded Garmin with a current market cap just under $12 billion.

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Other competitors include Voyce, owned by i4c Innovations, a wearable pet activity monitor available for presale that will also monitor a dog's heart and respiratory rates, and Home Again, a subsidiary of Merck & Co, which provides pets with patented microchips.

Tagg has sold more than 100,000 devices since its launch in 2011. The devices are manufactured in China, but currently available only in the U.S. Although Tagg will not disclose any specific revenue numbers, the company told CNBC it's more than doubled its revenue in the last 12 months.

Golden Retriever wearing a Tagg device.
Source: Tagg
Golden Retriever wearing a Tagg device.

The start-up has raised $6.5 million in funds backed by Karmel Capital and Qualcomm Inc. Tagg is headquartered in San Diego, California, with 20 full-time employees.

Watch Tagg CEO Scott Neuberger Power Pitch his idea to Andrea Arden, founder of Andrea Arden Dog Training, Wendy Diamond, Animal Fair editor-in-chief, and Rebeca Kaden, a principal at Maveron Venture Capital Firm.

--By CNBC's Joanna Weinstein with additional reporting by Erin Barry and Kelly Lin

--Comments, questions, suggestions? We'd love to hear from you. Follow us @CNBCPowerPitch and join the #PowerPitch conversation

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