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Mr. Vince Kim: “Build a company that creates value, not money”

Petpuls is an AI-powered dog collar that gives dogs a ‘voice’ so their owners can understand how they feel. To the best of my knowledge, we are the first company to use voice recognition for dogs. The Petpuls collar utilizes voice recognition technology to analyze emotional well-being. It also functions as an activity tracker with […]

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Petpuls is an AI-powered dog collar that gives dogs a ‘voice’ so their owners can understand how they feel. To the best of my knowledge, we are the first company to use voice recognition for dogs. The Petpuls collar utilizes voice recognition technology to analyze emotional well-being. It also functions as an activity tracker with a built-in accelerometer sensor that calculates the number of calories your dog burns from exercise. Our patent-pending, AI-enabled voice recognition technology uses a proprietary algorithm in combination with a database of more than 10K bark samples from 50 breeds of dogs in four different sizes to detect and determine five different emotional states of a dog — happy, relaxed, anxious, angry or sad. As the dog’s ‘voice’ data accumulates, Petpuls’ AI-driven database grows even more accurate, helping the dog’s owner better understand their dog’s emotions and what triggers them. The Petpuls collar pairs via Wi-Fi with our iOS or Android smartphone app, which displays and tracks a dog’s emotional state by day, week and month, and its physical activity and the calories it burns by hour, day, week or month.

The Petpuls platform also includes a “My Pet Registration” feature to create a unique profile for your dog. This feature provides access to the Petpuls Community and a “Pet Favorites” feature where owners can share their dog’s favorite food, toys and connect with other dog friends who are registered as part of the Petpuls Community. Everything is possible with Petpuls’ technology.


As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing Vince Kim, CEO and founder of Petpuls, the world’s first AI-powered dog collar that gives your dog a ‘voice’. Vince is driven by a deep passion for pets and believes AI-driven data can create meaningful communication between dogs and their humans. Guided by this principle and a lifelong love of dogs, he developed Petpuls, a unique digital system that utilizes a smart collar to analyze your dog’s emotional state as well as its physical well-being — allowing you to better understand and manage your dog’s entire life span.

Prior to Petpuls, Vince co-founded RWave, Inc. the parent company of Petpuls and a pet care service company. Originally created in 2017 as an AI- and IoT-based project for RWave, Petpuls now exists as a testament to his vision of uniting dog-loving families everywhere. In 2005 he founded DIGWave, a company that develops various web-related projects for government assignments. He has 20+ years of experience in the ICT sector and ISP industry.

Vince holds a master’s degree in Business Administration and Commercial Law from Yonsei University and is a Ph.D. candidate in Economics from Korea Maritime and Ocean University. He is also a member of South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE). Vince shares his home with his beloved dog, Dori, a Korean Jindo.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you please tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Early on, I developed a deep love of dogs, spurred on from an experience I had with my first dog, Suni. She was a loving family dog I grew up with throughout my formative elementary school years. Fiercely devoted, Suni always greeted me at the gate of my house upon returning from school and raced with me down the narrow alleyways of my small rural village. Suni even slept in my bed at a time when it was taboo with older people to not allow animals in the house.

Sadly, a few years later, I lost Suni, which left me devastated. Suni was ‘just a dog’ to some, but to me, she was my friend and nothing else. The memory of Suni served as a motivational push and is what eventually led me to develop Petpuls’ AI-powered dog collar to help give dogs a ‘voice’ and help their owners better manage their dog’s entire lifespan.

Can you please share with us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Something about dogs has followed me throughout my career. As I started RWave, one of the projects I engaged in was to create a web travel application for a particular company and various groups. While doing this, I soon realized that some young professionals who lived with small dogs were in desperate need of a safe home for their dogs when they couldn’t be present.

The problem was they couldn’t find any place that offered dog sitting services and had no options such as family members or friends as dog sitters. It was clear this was an issue and they called me — more than I expected. As a result, I developed a matching service and community features for dog owners, and it was a great success. I still remember their frantic calls to my office and being busy calling vet offices and friends to take care of dogs.

Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?

I believe we are all equal in this world. Dogs, trees, mountains, even nameless flowers are equally born into this world. We, as humans, should respect all life and its individual value in our world.

Ok thank you for that. Let’s now move to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?

The growing trend for pet humanization and changing consumer preferences have made pet owners increasingly conscious of their pets’ health. Furthermore, today’s modern dog owners invest significant money into the health and well-being of their furry canine companions. Understanding these trends and being devoted to helping dogs and owners, we created Petpuls.

Petpuls is an AI-powered dog collar that gives dogs a ‘voice’ so their owners can understand how they feel. To the best of my knowledge, we are the first company to use voice recognition for dogs. The Petpuls collar utilizes voice recognition technology to analyze emotional well-being. It also functions as an activity tracker with a built-in accelerometer sensor that calculates the number of calories your dog burns from exercise. Our patent-pending, AI-enabled voice recognition technology uses a proprietary algorithm in combination with a database of more than 10K bark samples from 50 breeds of dogs in four different sizes to detect and determine five different emotional states of a dog — happy, relaxed, anxious, angry or sad. As the dog’s ‘voice’ data accumulates, Petpuls’ AI-driven database grows even more accurate, helping the dog’s owner better understand their dog’s emotions and what triggers them. The Petpuls collar pairs via Wi-Fi with our iOS or Android smartphone app, which displays and tracks a dog’s emotional state by day, week and month, and its physical activity and the calories it burns by hour, day, week or month.

The Petpuls platform also includes a “My Pet Registration” feature to create a unique profile for your dog. This feature provides access to the Petpuls Community and a “Pet Favorites” feature where owners can share their dog’s favorite food, toys and connect with other dog friends who are registered as part of the Petpuls Community. Everything is possible with Petpuls’ technology.

We’re helping pet parents improve the quality of their relationship with their dogs to the mutual benefit of humans and canines.

How do you think this will change the world?

I believe dogs continue to talk to us — albeit in their own emotional language. If we can listen carefully to our loving dog friends, we will better understand them. Taking that one step further, Petpuls is creating an online community for dogs where owners can connect, plan meetups and share stories and products for the betterment of their furry friends.

It’s with that in mind that I created Petpuls, a unique device that helps humans to understand how dogs feel. What if dogs could send a signal they’re in an emergency or distressed state, or encourage their owner to see a particular situation differently based upon their bark? Petpuls’ technology makes this possible. I am confident other passionate dog owners are also interested in listening to and knowing what their dog’s ‘bark responses’ really mean — leading to a safer, better and happier community for dogs and owners alike.

A community created and led by a dog’s emotional and physical state would be a very different community. In this community, dogs send the messages of how they feel, such as being frustrated, angry, sad, happy or relaxed, at the moment they feel these emotions. Additionally, owners can track their dog’s calorie consumption and activity through a graph, creating meaningful, actionable information. Knowing and understanding a dog’s feelings in more accurate ways enables you to do many things better for your canine companion. For example, suppose an owner receives continuous information that indicates their dog is frustrated and angry, with a corresponding graph that shows a high-calorie consumption. In that case, they could turn on a home CCTV, call security, or even contact a vet to resolve the issue. If a dog shows an emotion of sadness, they could turn on soothing music, give their pet a toy or even purchase a treat dispenser to help their dog.

Petpuls is the very foundation upon which to build a community where the pet industry, dog lovers, pet health care providers and even safety professionals can join together and grow to vastly improve dog lives. It all starts by carefully listening to our loving dogs. Petpuls’s technology is the first key to open the door to a unique world of dogs that no one has seen before.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this idea that people should think more deeply about?

Two things come to mind here. First, our patent-pending, AI-enabled voice recognition technology has an emotional Recognition Accuracy Rate of more than 80% (backed by research and testing conducted by Seoul National University), but that percentage is not perfect — yet. The technology, however, will be continuously advanced along with AI-based learning. We’re aiming for perfection here.

Second, Petpuls is a tool to strengthen our relationship with dogs. It still requires people to be patient, eager, and willing to learn and grow with their dog to know them better. Equally, although Petpuls definitely empowers and enhances our relationship with dogs, it’s no substitute for our love and kind actions. It’s people who give love, not the device itself. There might be a tendency to think our device will solve all the issues associated with dogs, or translate a dog’s voice directly. Petpuls is not a magic wand. How a person uses Petpuls to understand their dog is really dependent on the individual.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?

Working in the pet industry, I became aware that very few people were genuinely interested in understanding dogs. There was a lot of scientific research happening around dogs’ health, but no one was actually looking to understand dogs from their perspective. Dogs can bark as a means of communication. However, as I began to mention anything about analyzing dogs’ voices through their bark, people didn’t take my approach seriously.

I was frustrated at first, but I eventually decided to pursue the idea. I told myself that if no one else was willing or interested, I would do it myself. There are still those who think that analyzing a dog’s ‘voice’ is absurd. I would counter that’s precisely what we have been able to do at Petpuls, and we will continue to sharpen the technology. We’ll keep moving forward, and I’m very positive about our future.

What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?

We need more people to have a genuine desire to learn more about their dogs. They are our devoted and loving companions and they can teach us. We also need more people to shift their attitudes and thoughts of dogs as ‘a toy’ or a ‘voiceless’ animal who never shares their feelings. Dogs can talk, communicate, share how they feel and even help us create a better community. As long as we have an open mind to see dogs differently, I believe we will also understand and treat each other better.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

1. ‘Life is a marathon, not a 50-yard dash.’ This is absolutely true and I am reminded of this every day.

2. ‘True value is not the final product itself, but how a product is being used and shared with others.’ I have not developed Petpuls as a final product. Rather, I would like to see this device become the foundation for other products to be utilized for their own purpose. Petpuls’s technology can be used in various places, products and devices to strengthen them as well.

3. ‘Build a company that creates value, not money.’ From the beginning, I set a goal for Petpuls to be a device driven by value and purpose to empower both humans and dogs. To that end, I am glad more people recognize this goal.

4. ‘Always try to listen to the unheard, then you will find a new world.’ I share this thought with Andrew Gil, our Director of Global Marketing & Strategies a lot. Both of us consider ourselves as ‘community builders,’ especially to historically neglected communities. Dogs fit into this category. They’ve been our best friends, but many of us never try to see things from their perspective and language. As we strive to listen to them, we can build a new community where dogs can lead and teach us. Isn’t that fantastic?

5. ‘Do not limit yourself.’ This is a mantra in my life. I have always believed the sky’s the limit, and life is full of adventures. There is no reason to limit yourself. Just go out there and dare to enjoy it all to the fullest!

Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?

First, always try to maintain your composure, even the hardest of moments. There is no double that challenges will come and storms will rise. Being still in the storm is one critical success habit I try to continuously practice.

Second, it’s imperative to maintain a balance between life, joy, work and relationships. Family is important, and, for me, finding something else besides Petpuls is critical to maintaining balance. In my case, I am an avid climber who loves beautiful mountains — this cleanses and refreshes my busy mind.

Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Have you ever imagined a completely different community created and led by dogs? Sounds absurd, right? Well, it’s not. Dogs can tell us many things and teach us new ways to view things.

How is that possible? Well, it starts by listening carefully through the power of Petpuls’ AI-powered device. Dogs can tell us how they feel and what we can do for them. Various people can use Petpuls to better understand dogs. Veterinarians, dog trainers, dog walkers, groomers, and whoever loves to listen to dogs and help them live happy lives can join the Petpuls community where eager humans listen to their dog’s voice and make changes based on their dogs’ feelings. Through this new community, humans can become a “dog’s best friend” as well.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Follow us on social media on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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