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College Pet Detective

April 08, 2013 at 9:38 AM

A friend’s missing cat was the inspiration for Year 13 student, Matt Ellwood to create a ‘Lost and Found’ website for pets ‘www.alphapets.co.nz.’ This  idea has gone one step further and gained recognition on national television with the development phase of a GPS tracking device for pets; a device that could take the heartache out of losing a pet for owners.

Matt said that the idea was spawned when he had an assignment last year in Digital Technology to create a website. Choosing a topic is always the hardest part of a new project but a friend’s missing cat spawned an idea that has since taken flight. Matt said that the website took a long time to make, however, with help from teacher, Mr Mooney, the website was finished by July last year. Whilst he had a fully functioning site, he now had to get people to use it and so he contacted Google.  They gave some free advertising credit as they liked what he was trying to achieve, a way to find lost pets without the stress and cost that is usually associated with it. The media soon caught on and Stuff.co.nz published an article entitled ‘Ace Pet Detectives’ (see link below). Soon after that Masterpet, New Zealand’s largest supplier of pet supplies became a primary sponsor and started contributing towards the annual web fees. This was a relief for Matt as the website costs were coming out of his own pocket.

 As weeks went past more and more people emailed Matt to ask what else they could do to find their lost pet; this started Matt on the road to think of new ideas. Whilst microchipping identifies an animal that has been found, it doesn’t help locate it. GPS sprung to mind and through a Google search, Matt made contact with Lintek Tracking Solutions, one of New Zealand’s largest GPS companies. Lintek Sales Manager, Eric Lin said that had a prototype for a device but it hadn’t been developed and so together they worked to improve the product. Lintek dealt withthe technical aspects and Matt gave them ideas about what New Zealand pet owners really want such as ‘Geo Fencing.’ The collar can be programmed to set a virtual boundary so that if a pet wanders past the pre-set co-ordinates, the collar activates a siren on a smartphone, alerting the owner.

Matt’s website, AlphaPets is now the exclusive pre-order portal for the device. Consumers can  register their interest and when a viable quota  has been met, the GPS Pet trackers will be manufactured and made available. Matt says this is similar to ‘daily deal’ websites where the deal only goes ahead if a minimum quantity is reached.

A media release was sent out by Matt and both FairFax media and Campbell Live wanted a story (See the links below). Following those media publications, Matt received more than 700 emails from people wanting a collar and now has some significant pet companies expressing interest. Pre orders can now be exclusively through alphapets.co.nz. We wish Matt every success with his venture!

Available to read on Stuff.co.nz, there have been two articles:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/7408747/Ace-teenagers-pet-detectives
http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/8491371/Making-sure-Lassie-does-come-home
(This was also published in Sunday Star Times and Herald on Sunday.)

Matt was interviewed for Campell Live and spoke with great confidence.
http://www.3news.co.nz/AlphaPets-No-more-lost-pets/tabid/367/articleID/292700/Default.aspx

Visit http://alphapets.co.nz/ to see the work that Matt is doing.

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