CENTENNIAL, Colo.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--The idea came easily. Kyle Hansen, founder and CEO of The Kyjen Company, was playing a board game with his two sons. As he took his turn, Hansen looked up into a nearby closet, realizing it was filled with stacks upon stacks of games. He thought about all the hours of fun that his family had enjoyed because of them. Then, in the same moment, he looked over at his dog, “McMoose.” The yellow lab let out a long sigh, and stared back at his owner.
“There will be a lot of happy dogs in the coming months and years ahead!”
“It occurred to me that board games, though fun for the family, completely ignored the needs of the family dog,” says Hansen. “It seemed obvious that interactive games that could be enjoyed by dogs, kids, and pet parents would be a huge hit.”
Several years on, Hansen’s Colorado-based company sells more than 20 different treat-hiding games and puzzles under its Dog Games® brand. It might seem like a strange concept to the uninitiated, but Dog Games toys are sort of like board games and puzzles for pooches. Hansen attributes the success of these toys to Kyjen’s rigorous R&D: “We design and test our toys by carefully studying dog behavior. Every dog is different, so we strive to make games and puzzles that accommodate various modes of play.”
Dogs everywhere seem to approve. Today, Kyjen sells its Dog Games® toys through more than 100 distributors and 1,100 retailers. And the company is now poised for even greater growth after receiving a significant investment from The Riverside Company, a private equity firm focused on acquiring and growing middle market businesses.
Seeing tremendous growth potential for Kyjen, The Riverside Company acquired Kyjen in a recently announced deal. According to Riverside Managing Partner Loren Schlachet, “Kyjen provides a lot more than simple dog toys and accessories. Their products create fun and interactive experiences that enrich dogs’ lives. We see tremendous upside in this innovative company.”
The Riverside Company will work with Kyjen to enhance operations, expand product offerings, and attract new customers. Kyjen has experienced greater than 20% annual growth for the last three years. As a result of the Riverside partnership, the growing company has goals to triple its sales within the next four to five years.
For Hansen, who started the company with his wife Jennifer in 1997, the real goal has always been to keep dogs active and engaged: “With Dog Games®, I knew that we could make dog toys better and more engaging while also stimulating and challenging dogs’ mental capabilities—like Baby Einstein® for dogs.” With The Riverside Company’s support, Kyjen plans to bring an ongoing flow of new product innovations to market in the near future. According to Hansen, “There will be a lot of happy dogs in the coming months and years ahead!”
Kyjen is recognized as a top innovator in the pet industry with several high-quality product lines including Dog Games® Puzzle Toys, an ever-evolving category that provides great ways to challenge, teach, and play with dogs; Outward Hound® Pet Travel Gear, which offers practical solutions to travel safely and explore the outdoors with dogs; Plush Puppies® Dog Toys, one of the original plush brands designed specifically for dogs; and Holiday Toys and Accessories. For more information, visit www.kyjen.com.