This NYC Startup Makes Dog Care Easy



Need to arrange a ‘play date’ for your dog? Or for someone to care for your beloved pooch while you’re out of town? That’s where DoggyBnB comes in. It’s a community of pet owners and pet lovers – including your friends and acquaintances – who’ll be there when you and man’s best friend when you need them. But instead of having to go begging every time, you just send out a message (yes, it’s called a ‘woof’) and help is on the way.

Founders Adam Pokornicky, Dan Joldzic and Matt Luckey tell us about their app that’s there to help friends and your pet-loving community show a little puppy love.

Tell us about the product or service.

DoggyBnB (Doggy Buddies n’ Boarders) is a pet care community where friends help friends take care of their pets. Because pets are like children and getting trustworthy pet care when you need it is like finding a babysitter for your kid, DoggyBnB enables you to create a support network of animal-loving friends and contacts whom you would turn to naturally, without the awkwardness or stress of asking directly. Simply sign up, build a profile and grow your network by adding/inviting the friends and fellow pet parents you know and trust. Leveraging the network effect, we’ll build you a pet care support system of reliable and trustworthy options through tiered connections and shared trust.

The next time you need help (instead of picking up the phone, texting one by one or searching through profiles of strangers and places to board your pet), push a job request (called a Woof) to the network with a few taps of the app and let the help come to you. Push notifications, calendar reminders and tiered networks all serve to create an efficient system that ensures that pet care will be reliable, and will meet the needs of the pet owner and buddy and/ or boarder.

How is it different?

There are a number of existing apps and service sites that offer pet care through individual providers, but DoggyBnB is unique in that it relies on earned trust, first and foremost. Pets are like family, and therefore the ideal candidates to provide pet care in an owner’s absence are those who already know and love the owner’s pet. A reliance on authentic relationships rather than the broader, “verified” trust that is promised through websites and reviews is the distinguishing factor from other pet care service providers, differentiating DoggyBnB from alternative boarding and pet-sitting services.

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

We are attacking the pet boarding and sitting market, which we know to be almost $5BN of the $55BN overall US Pet Care Industry. Because our service is virtual and can exist anywhere mobile phones are available, we see the overall reach for our market segment being a global number, which is around $9bn of the $97BN worldwide market. That being said, the numbers above do not take into account the market for pet care services between friends that are done offline. By making pet care both more manageable and affordable through utilization with our solution, we believe there is a much bigger pie for us to cut into as we combine the public and professional industries with the personal and preferred providers.

What is the business model?

By taking a small percentage of each request for service, or “woof,” DoggyBnB will earn income that will sustain the site and help us to continue development on the network. Over time, we see those fees coming down and expect additional features and partnerships to generate added revenue streams for the app.

What’s the strangest pet request that you have received?

We recently had a request by a user who had no buddies (had zero connections) for 10 days around Christmas through New Year’s that was pushed out in an old version of the app. We contacted her and walked her through the process, but found it really odd that a user put out a request so far in advance and didn’t understand why no one was seeing it.

What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?

In six months we expect to have 43,000 users and 600 jobs per month.

If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community, who would it be and why?

Union Square Ventures’s Fred Wilson. They were early investors in social apps like Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare and they have also focused on marketplace apps like Etsy. DoggyBnB combines the market place element with social dynamics. Additionally, they see the value in distributed and decentralized networks like Bitcoin, and have also made investments in the space through companies like Coinbase, which is a personal favorite of mine.

Why did you launch in New York?

Both founders are New Yorkers and we saw it as a natural environment. New York City has a great amount of density that expands the network affect built by DoggyBnB. The network affect increases the probability for a pet owner to find trusted pet care through shared connections. People in New York tend to be on the go and busy all the time, and like having the convenience of on demand technologies that can give them what they want, when they want it. New York also is a very expensive city to live, and where friends can use a little extra reward for helping out with a pet.

What’s your favorite fall destination in NYC?

Washington Square Park. The village is my favorite part of the city, which is why I rent my apartment in the neighborhood. After everyone comes back from summer break, there is a good deal of activity. Plus, they have a great dog park that I take Maggie to.

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