Gordon Spater headshot
Winner Tag

Location: Salisbury, MA
Founded: 2003
Industry: Consumer products


Gordon Spater
Chief Business Officer


When Kitter Spater’s dog Zelda would not stay in the back seat of his car, he developed what would become Kurgo’s first product: the Backseat Barrier. “Once we started selling the Backseat Barrier to customers, we came to understand the opportunity in the market,” says Gordon Spater, Kurgo’s chief business officer and Kitter Spater’s brother. That opportunity lay in both the rapid growth of the pet industry, even through the recession years, and the fact that more dog owners now tend to take their pets on journeys outside the home. “We found there was a need for better solutions to make those trips easier for the owner and the dog,” says Spater.

Quick Tip “You need to watch [people] and ignore them at the same time. Watch them so you know what is going on in the market, but ignore them because most often, all you can do is run harder and faster than the next guy.”

Kitter Spater has a master’s degree in industrial design from the Pratt Institute, and has taken charge of everything from product design to package design and office design. Gordon Spater, as a Harvard MBA, has focused on the business issues. That combination of talents has allowed Kurgo to find opportunities and take advantage of them. Over time, the Kurgo team has grown, with the addition of more than 20 members who have their own specialized skill sets. “The team is inspired by helping people connect with their dog beyond a casual head scratch when they get home from work,” says Gordon Spater.