Interview with Petnostics founder Stephen Chen

Stephen Chen, Petnostics founder
Stephen Chen, Petnostics founder

Wanting to allow pet owners to make sure their dogs and cats are healthy, Stephen founded Petnostics in February 2013. Stephen attended the University of Michigan and HBS, and he now lives in Downtown LA with his Westiepoo, Austin.

1) What is Petnostics?Petnostics helps pet parents keep their pets happy and healthy through a line of at-home urine test products. Using the same diagnostic test strips that veterinarians use in their clinics, pet parents can check their dog or cat’s health instantly with the free Petnostics iPhone app and be alerted to potential health issues such as urinary tract infections and diabetes. With results easily shareable to vets and at a fraction of the cost of a vet visit, Petnostics makes healthy living easier for pet families.

Here’s how it works:

1. Collect: 

Use Petnostics’ smart urine cup to collect your pet’s urine cleanly until you are ready to test with the Petnostics iPhone app. Petnostics also offers hydrophobic cat litter to allow for easy cat urine collection!
2. Seal: 
Once your pet’s urine is collected, screw on the Petnostics lid to begin testing. The lid is integrated with the same urine test strip that veterinarians use in their clinics and will begin changing colors once it comes in contact with the urine.

3. Analyze: 
Simply scan the top of the lid with the Petnostics iPhone app and results will be available instantly. Results are also easily shareable with your vet, making it easy for everyone to engage with your pet’s health

2)How did you come up with the idea for Petnostics?

My background is in the healthcare industry. I spent 5 years managing a medical device company. One of the projects I worked on was developing a new urine analyzer, and it was during this project that I came up with the technology that enabled mobile phones to replicate the functionality and accuracy of the traditional analyzer. Being a pet lover myself, I could see the potential that the technology had to empower pet parents to take more control over their pet’s health from the comfort of their own home at a price they could afford.

2) Is it an alternative to going to the vet?

While Petnostics is excellent for identifying certain health issues in pets, we urge our users to share test results with their veterinarians and to always consult them whenever they are concerned about their pet’s health. We have been in close discussions with the veterinarian community from the very beginning to make sure that the products we develop and bring to market are accurate, safe and effective.

3) How did your experience on Shark Tank and the investment from Lori Greiner and Kevin O’Leary help your business?

It’s only been a week since we aired on Shark Tank, but I can tell you that the immediate response has been overwhelmingly positive on all fronts. Sales have definitely spiked and people are talking about Petnostics all over social media. We’re excited to see where we are in the next couple of months.

5) What inspired you to go into business?

As far as I can remember, I’ve had a passion for solving problem and creating things that make people’s lives easier.

6) What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

My best advice for entrepreneurs would be to turn your passions into your career. As cliché as it sounds, when you are working on something you love it doesn’t feel like work at all. The entrepreneurial lifestyle is hard enough. Spending a huge portion of your life working on something that you aren’t truly passionate about is only going to cause you to burn out quickly.
We would like to thank Stephen for speaking with us.

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