Tel Aviv was a perfect place for piloting Dogiz, a smartphone app that connects urban dog-owners with local walkers, trainers, groomers and vets – and also provides those small businesses with management tools to increase their efficiency and customer base.
This second-largest Israeli city has a population of about 414,000 people and somewhere between 25,000 and 30,000 pet canines.
The app was conceived 18 months ago by a student group including two immigrants — Danny Djanogly from London and Alon Zlatkin from the former Soviet Union – in the Entrepreneurship Club at IDC Herzliya.
“We were all dog owners who had moved to the big city and were facing the struggle of managing our dogs’ lives with university, work, girlfriends and wives,” Djanogly tells ISRAEL21c.
After being incubated at TheHive by Gvahim TLV accelerator for immigrant-led startups, and winning $100,000 from Japan’s Samurai Incubate in the March 2015 StartUp Fusion competition, Dogiz Android and iOS apps were developed and launched officially in Tel Aviv in March 2016. Since then, the company has raised more than half a million dollars.
The service expanded into London last summer and now is entering the New York City market following several small pilots in the Big Apple.
Djanogly acknowledges that Dogiz is hardly the only app aimed at connecting dog owners with professionals in their neighborhood.
“We’re unique, as we help urban dog owners connect with the best professional service providers who offer a full concierge of services for all your dog’s needs, not just walking. At the same time we provide software to these companies to optimize, streamline and ultimately scale their business,” he explains, adding that some partner companies have seen nearly $100,000 of new business through using the Dogiz platform.
“Our average dog owner spends around $80 to $100 a week on our platform, with 98 percent of our dog owners ordering at least three times a week and 70% ordering services on a daily basis,” Djanogly says.
An integrated payment system from Israeli startup Zooz enables participating small businesses to transition to automatic billing. Dogiz also provides software to handle administrative tasks from booking to customer communication.
Dogiz users can order and pay for services through the app, track walks in real time and receive an end-of-walk summary complete with pictures.
“We’re interested in the young millennial dog culture. This is a demographic that is working crazy hours and becoming dependent on professional services to care for pets because they don’t want them stuck at home bored,” says Djanogly.
“For a lot of urban millennials this is a basic necessity for their dog and we are introducing a new level of professionalism to the trend. We don’t work with teenagers walking dogs for pocket money; only with established businesses that offer a wide range of services to meet any urban dog owner’s needs.”
Dogiz, with six fulltime employees and a few part-timers and growing, has gotten additional funding from private angels and family funds, and is closing significant investments from European and New York VCs.