Poopy Cat is a masterclass in box clever product design

21 Apr 2016

Rich Passanier, co-founder of Poopy Cat

While Poopycat.com appears a novel product for cat lovers, the start-up is is actually a master class in clever industrial design, manufacturing and managing a sophisticated global supply chain.

Creators of biodegradable litter boxes and cardboard climbing structures for cats, Poopy Cat was founded by Thomas Vles and Rick Passenier in Amsterdam.

“We’re the greatest thing since sliced bread for the pet products industry,” said Rick Passanier at Uprise Festival, the start-up show in Amsterdam founded by Irishman Paul O’Connell.

‘Ultimately, we don’t believe the pet products business is innovating with regard to the environment or convenience’

While Passanier was being ironic, he was taking a stab also at what he perceives as a significant lack of innovation in the pet products industry.

Poopy Cat, which is launching a new Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, produces boxes that use waste from the root-processing industry as cat litter. It also produces fun climbing structures like the Eiffel Tower or Kremlin.

While it all appears novel and fun, it is a sophisticated global enterprise.

Both Passanier and Vles are industrial design and engineering graduates who wanted to create products that supported sustainability and that would translate into sales online and in retail stores.

“Thomas had an epiphany and decided cats relate taking a dump to the litter, not the box. So we came up with an idea to create a box that has everything – you don’t need to clean it out, you can throw it out with your environmental waste – it has good elements of design and sustainability. We even use waste from the root-processing industry because traditional cat litter is made from silica, which is bad for the environment.

“Ultimately, we don’t believe the pet products business is innovating with regard to the environment or convenience.”

The founders of Poopy Cat are actually cat owners themselves and their office has two cats that are ambassadors for the product and have been stars of viral videos promoting it.

New Poopy Cat Kickstarter campaign

Poopy Cat was established after a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2014 and various friends and family rounds.

The start-up has just created a new campaign that went live this week on Kickstarter to raise €30,000 towards the development of new ‘landmark’ playhouses for cats and small dogs.

Behind the scenes, Poopy Cat is a masterclass in design, manufacturing and delivery.

The company serves 12 countries in western Europe from its Netherlands offices and maintains a separate manufacturing and distribution centre in Australia that serves Asia.

“We’re targeting our entry into the US market in September and we are in negotiations with bricks and mortar retail chains about featuring the product. The product travels well both online and in stores where people can see it.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years