Cambridge, England-based pet technology specialist Sure Petcare is celebrating 10 years since the launch of its first microchip-enabled pet product, the multi award-winning Microchip Cat Flap. The company will be celebrating with a traditional birthday party to mark the milestone and is looking forward to further innovations to kick off its second decade in business.
Cambridge physicist and cat owner, Nick Hill, developed the Microchip Cat Flap after he discovered that his cat, Flipper, was being harassed by the local neighborhood cats who were entering his home through Flipper’s conventional, unsecured cat flap. The Microchip Cat Flap solved this problem by recognizing a pet’s unique microchip number, providing access only to the nominated pet.
The company expanded its range of pet door products based on the same microchip reading technology, launching smart cat flaps designed for both multi-pet households, as well as larger cats and small dogs. In 2014, this was followed by the launch of the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder, which enabled owners of multiple pets to prevent food stealing, to provide the right food to the right pet.
“The company started by finding a way to provide Flipper with his own personal door key,” said Hill, who is not only the founder, but also the managing director of Sure Petcare. “Since 2008 we have worked with our customers to continuously develop and improve our products—the Microchip Cat Flap is on its seventh iteration. Our products have protected over 1 million homes from invasion and kept 100 million meals safe from feline food thieves. I am sure Flipper is proud!”
The next ten years will see the company develop further into the connected pet technology space. In 2017 Sure Petcare launched the first in a suite of connected products: the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Connect, which helps to increase an owner’s bond with their pets, even when they are away from home. The Microchip Pet Door Connect allows pet owners to monitor and control their pet’s comings and goings via a smartphone app. In 2018 the company will be launching further connected products which will provide a variety of information about a pet’s day-to-day activities, behaviours and routines.
“We want to equip owners with an unprecedented insight into their pet’s health and well-being through the use of app-connected products,” Hill said. “By using this connected technology it will help them to identify and address the changing needs of their pets throughout their lifetime.”
Hill is a physicist by training, originally studying at Oxford University before switching to Cambridge University for PhD in quantum physics of semiconductor devices. After completion of his PhD, his passion for invention and entrepreneurship led him to stay in Cambridge, the high tech hub for the UK. He joined a local company, NXT, to develop its revolutionary audio technology, which over the years proved an exceptional training ground in many areas including research management, product development, patents, and IP protection.
After almost nine years at NXT, Hill was bitten by the startup bug and left to develop a product for his cat, joining the proud tradition of physicists and cats (from quantum phyisics’ Schroedinger’s cat to Isaac Newton having been the original inventor of the cat door). In order to create a new product concept of a cat door that reads the veterinary implanted microchip, Hill developed a new RFID reader technology called OnTune, offering greatly improved read range for a given battery life and enabling the new use of the pet microchip. He initially founded Cambridge Resonant Technologies in 2006 as owner of the reader technology IP, and later in 2008 SureFlap Ltd to take the cat door product to market. Following the global success of the SureFlap range of microchip reading pet door and feeders, SureFlap and Cambridge Resonant Technologies were acquired in 2015 by Allflex Group, the global leader in animal identification and monitoring. Hill now heads the Allflex consumer pet division and is leading their unique combination of pet microchips and connected products as the future of intelligent pet care.