Pet Story

A digital communication tool that helps dog walkers validate their services to build trust and long term relationships with pet owners.
Batch: 2019 Summer
Status: Unsuccessful

Pet Story

A digital communication tool that helps dog walkers validate their services to build trust and long term relationships with pet owners.
Batch: 2019 Summer
Status: Unsuccessful

Founders

We built Memoir Share (https://www.memoir-share.com/), a website that provides questions that encourage users to write their memories and print them in a physical book that they can give to family and friends.

This interested us because people accumulate valuable experiences throughout their lives that often end up lost or forgotten. We realized that we didn’t have the domain knowledge and connections and decided to focus on Pet Story.

Ryan and Luis met 1.5 years ago while Ryan was teaching at Code Tenderloin. Luis stood out in the 4 cohorts that Ryan taught because of his ability to quickly pick up concepts and his self-motivated approach to learning. Luis and Ryan developed good rapport and they started working together outside of class because they shared many of the same long term goals.

Progress

- Released a beta iOS and Android apps for pet caregivers
- Released a beta web app for owners
- Primary focus at the moment is acquiring users(pet caregivers) for feedback

We’ve been working on Pet Story for 6 months. Ryan has been full time since January 2019. Luis will be full time at the beginning of April.

- We have two heavy users on the pet caregiver side.
- We have 20 users on the owner side. They spend an average of 4 minutes on the web app after new content is generated for them. They are vocal and positive about the content they receive.
- After sharing the product with a reddit user, they name dropped Pet Story in a thread which led to 20 installs and 10 registers (pet caregivers).

Idea

Luis was a dog walker who found clients on Rover. He would leave the platform after building a relationship with his clients because Rover takes 40% commission (a walk costs $25 and the pet caregiver gets $15). Luis ran his pet care business for 6 months but it was difficult to demonstrate the full value of his services without the digital tools asides from text messages.

We saw caregivers in social media, YouTube, and blogs leaving the platform for the same reason. There are frequent posts on the Rover and Wag subreddits complaining about the cut that is being taken.

The on-demand business model is not well suited for the pet care or care industry in general. People that provide their services in on-demand business models want to make more money.

Pet owners are looking for consistency and want to create a relationship with a single pet caregiver.

- We will provide pet caregivers digital tools with a subscription fee. Existing products charge a fee per transaction
- People currently use text message and email to transfer information. That information is not in a concise location that is always accessible
- Pet caregivers use Instagram to share content but is not personalized towards a specific owner

Rover and Wag, both walker services are the biggest competitors. They provide on demand walks and sitting services. Care.com focuses on discoverability, but not on building the relationship and trust afterwards.

Pet owners seek a long term relationship with a pet caregiver who they can trust.

You don’t care who drives your Uber, but you do care who you’re letting into your home to take care of your pet.

- Charge a monthly fee of $20 to $50 for single and small teams. We estimate that there are about 300,000 pet care providers in the US
- Pet care alone in $6 billion industry
- 90 million homes own a pet
- Pet industry was a $72 billion industry in 2018
- The average annual growth rate for the pet industry over the past 20 years is over 5% per year
- Pet caregivers are our starting market, but we plan to expand into owners

We are exploring ground level channels to start with. Pet caregivers can easily be found during the day at various parks and beaches. There are disenchanted users on Rover/Wag specific subreddits. Nextdoor and Craigslist have frequent posts from pet caregivers looking for new clients. Other channels we will explore include as hosting events, content marketing, and local business partnerships.

Equity

We are working with a UX researcher, UI designer, and other supporting members. They have expressed interest in joining full time when the company is more mature.

Others

- The elderly market is underserved and growing with the aging baby boomer population and longer life expectancy. We’ve touched the surface with Memoir Share and Reader Vision (a utility app to help read menus).
- We are both passionate about education/learning, and believe it still has major flaws. High level concepts often escape understanding if a person hasn’t graped core principles. Imagine breaking it down into smaller concepts and focusing on the ones you as an individual need clarity on.

- There were about 1.1 million pets living in NYC. That is almost the same as the population of Oakland and San Francisco combined
- There are more dogs(130K) than children(110K) living in SF

Curious

- YC will provide guidance in areas we are weak and will connect us with people whose wisdom can help us grow faster
- The core thesis of “the best builders are not necessarily the best networkers re-iterated by Michael Seibel resonates with us
- Other YC graduates have described it as a valuable experience
- Completing this application was an exercise in critical thinking about what we’re doing

First from Rich and Bill @ WePay back in the day

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