Building a business in Silicon Valley might seem sexy — but it isn’t always the right choice, Lisa Tamayo said.
What is Scollar? The company bills itself as the first and only full stack open platform technology for every breed of animal, from cats to cattle. Its integrated technology consists of three components: a modular smart collar, a mobile app and a data cloud service.
What is Scollar?
The company bills itself as the first and only full stack open platform technology for every breed of animal, from cats to cattle. Its integrated technology consists of three components: a modular smart collar, a mobile app and a data cloud service.
“I don’t know what you guys hear about the Coast, but hardware is quite challenging for any company in the Bay area because a lot of these Silicon Valley folks in San Francisco only like apps and SaaS and mobile … If you add a hardware component to it, people get scared,” said Tamayo, CEO of Scollar, as she packed up her belongings and prepared to leave Sonoma County, California, for a new life chapter in Kansas City.
Scollar’s arrival in the Kansas City startup ecosystem was celebrated Thursday with a reception at Bar K Dog Bar.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and KCMO Mayor Sly James were among guests who recognized the company’s commitment to growing the animal health space and Kansas City’s tech footprint.
“We are excited to welcome Scollar to our state,” Parson said before the welcome event. “We know Missouri has great potential for tech growth, and that is confirmed by companies like this one choosing to move here. We look forward to being part of Scollar’s growth.”
Keep reading after the photo gallery from Thursday’s event at Bar K.
What makes Scollar tick?
Born out of love for her family’s four-legged friend, Zuko — the cheese and popcorn loving, golden retriever who serves as the official mascot of Scollar — Tamayo, a serial entrepreneur, wanted to build a meaningful company that solved a problem many pet owners experienced, she explained.
“When we first envisioned a collar that did everything, it was quite literally chaos in our household,” she explained of Scollar’s inception. “We had two teenagers, two cats, and a dog. … No one knew anything about what was going on with the pets. The last time they’d been fed, when the last flea and tick medication was given.”
With Scollar — the smart collar that does everything from enabling an owner to buy pet supplies to helping them train an animal or monitor its health — there’s no worries, Tamayo added.
“We want to really bring together the pet-loving community and show [them] how we are solving all of your needs in one system.”
Soon to launch as a product suite, Scollar also includes a cloud service and mobile app, Tamayo explained.
Click here to pre-order Scollar for your pet.
A win-win for jobs
Far from a liability, landlocking Scollar in Kansas City could be just the strengthening agent the growing startup needs, Tamayo said.
Opportunities to collaborate with more than 400 animal health companies in the region’s growing animal health corridor — where Tamayo said the appetite for innovations like Scollar is stronger than in Silicon Valley — could prove invaluable, she added.
“We continue to develop a lot of ideas about how we can not only become part of the community initiatives that we’ve seen — and we think are really vital to the region — [but what we can bring to the table ourselves],” Tamayo said.
A “win-win” for the company and the state, Scollar signed an agreement with the Missouri Partnership — which incentivizes the company when they bring jobs to the metro, Tamayo explained.
Under the agreement, Scollar aims to create 200 jobs in Kansas City, she added.
Surprising chain of events
Further propelling the region’s animal health corridor and aiding the growth of Scollar, a couple of locally rooted companies, Scaling 4 Growth and Roots & Legacies, expect to launch two Kansas City Business Growth Circles — groups of six to eight industry-specific leaders who commit to meeting regularly in a mentorship and professional development capacity — engineered to cater to the needs of animal health and agribusiness executives, explained Dr. Frumi Barr, Scaling 4 Growth CEO and Scollar CRO.
“Our intention is to be a catalyst for agribusiness … to collaborate and accelerate success for companies in the animal health corridor,” Barr said.
Tamayo became entranced by Kansas City after she and Barr presented at the Animal Health Investment Forum in 2018, she recalled.
Click here for information on the 2019 Animal Health Investment Forum
Beyond a growing interest in Midwest sensibilities and salivating thoughts of endless BBQ, a key component in getting Scollar to Kansas City: The Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Tamayo explained.
“Kansas City was kind of a surprise,” she said. “[At the Animal Health Investment Forum, Narbeli Galindo with the EDCKC] started talking to us about the concept of us moving the company [to Kansas City] to be part of the whole corridor and that literally started off a chain of events with us coming back multiple times.”
Paws up, ready for adventure, as of Thursday the four-person Scollar team officially began working in Kansas City where Tamayo is eager to continue building her team and expanding the concept of animal health in tech, she said.
“We have rancher friends [in Sonoma County] who got wind of what we were doing and said, ‘You need to come up to the ranch and see what we struggle with, and you’ll see that we actually need your product too,’” Tamayo explained of Scollar’s capabilities which could also disrupt the farming space — taking Scollar from cats to cattle, she added.
Eager to teach an old dog new tricks, innovating the animal space with Scollar could prove to be a wild ride with massive opportunity, Tamayo said — one the entrepreneur and her team are ready to tackle with the support of Kansas City and a few four-legged friends at their side.