Tara and Jason O’Mara show off their SHRU Intelligent Cat Companion in Shark Tank episode 813 and hope the Sharks like cats. The O’Maras love their cats, so they made a toy that cats go wild about. The SHRU mimics a live animal and has several adjustments for activity level and sound.
Basically, it’s an egg-shaped plastic body with a feathery tail. It moves autonomously and never does the same thing twice. Cats stay engaged with the toy for long periods of time, so they won’t get bored when their people leave them alone. The SHRU is the flagship product of their pet based business, PDX Pet Design. It won over the Kickstarter (Catstarter?) crowd: they raised over $170K in 2014 and they currently stock and ship the product.
They aren’t stopping with the SHRU. PDX has a grooming toy called the Licki Brush in development and their background as both cat lovers and designers makes me think they have other products up their sleeves. The O’Maras likely want a Shark’s help growing their brand.
My Take on SHRU
I’m a dog guy, so SHRU won’t be on my shopping list. One of my girls has a cat and she LOVES the SHRU. Someone gave her one as a present last year. This resulted in nearly daily Snapchat videos of her cat FREAKING OUT while playing with the SHRU.
Cats like to get freaked out by toys, which is why SHRU is such a hit. It isn’t some fake mouse, it’s a full-on, fun-filled cat toy. Cat lovers are a passionate group and if this toy catches on, they’ll sell a ton of them. For that reason, I am IN.
Do Sharks Like Cats?
It looks like the O’Maras deliver live kitties to the Sharks during their pitch. Whether that sways the Sharks remains to be seen. We all know Robert loves dogs, so he might not be interested, but you never know. The O’Maras aren’t resting all their hopes on one product either. Mark’s familiar “it’s a product, not a company” refrain isn’t the case here.
The Sharks like it when entrepreneurs have a plan for what’s next, and the O’Maras clearly want to develop a whole line of toys for cats. That foresight, coupled with a solid valuation, ought to earn them a bid or two from the Sharks.