An Idea Borne of Experience
“DogLog was created by my family a few years ago to really help us solve our own pain points when trying to take the best care possible of our dog,” says co-founder and CEO Lynn Marks. She was living with her father, Gideon, at the time, and they were having trouble coordinating who was doing what when it came to pet care.
“With our different work schedules and being in and out of the house at different times, we just kept on having to ask each other very basic questions every single day like: ‘Did you walk the dog already? Did you feed them?’” Lynn says. “Of course, the dog always pretends that they haven't been fed even though they have been.”
Eventually, the family thought there might be a technical solution. They came up with the idea of a mobile app to help “pet owners better coordinate and track their pets' daily activities and health,” Lynn says.
It’s one thing to dream up a novel use for a mobile app, but creating an app from scratch is another matter. Fortunately, Lynn’s and Gideon’s collective backgrounds in product management, computer science, corporate development, and startup mentorship helped jump-start the project.
Living in San Francisco where “there are more dogs than children” provided a rich environment for product research and testing. Lynn and Gideon were able to ask people a lot of questions about things like what sort of problems they were having when trying to coordinate pet care and how they were tracking their pets’ health.
The Silicon Valley culture was a plus as well. “Being in an ecosystem where pretty much everyone has a startup has been extremely useful,” Lynn says. “We've been able to meet a lot of other entrepreneurs, [including some] in the pet space specifically, and that has been really helpful for our growth.”
It also helped that they were starting the company as a family. “I think when you’re working with family, and you have that level of comfort, you know that no matter if you get into an argument … the business in itself isn't going to fall apart,” Lynn says.
Today, in addition to helping people coordinate pet care, “We're now really trying to be a platform where all important information about your pet can be found in one place,” Lynn says. “We also want to be able to take all of that data and help pet owners understand if there are any concerning or changing trends about their pets’ behavior.”
The app has received new features periodically, mostly at the request of users. One of them is the ability to contact a company representative directly from the app. This improves customer relations and facilitates improvements, says Lynn’s father and company co-founder Gideon Marks.
Better Monetization, Additional Capabilities Planned
DogLog’s current monetization strategy primarily involves affiliate marketing partnerships with companies that sell quality pet care products. But those partnerships are hard to control and predict, so a premium paid version was launched last year that hopefully will provide much of the company’s revenue going forward. The company is also exploring tighter integrations with affiliate partners, such as sharing data.
DogLog is looking to add even more new features, especially to the premium version. This could include, for example, the ability to export your data so you can show it to a vet. The founders want the free version to provide good value on its own, so it will be upgraded periodically as well.
Lynn and Gideon are pleased with where they’ve taken the company so far, but they have their sights set on bigger goals. “When we started DogLog, it was just for our family, and today we're looking at [almost] 100,000 downloads,” Gideon says. “Our goal is actually to become a dominant platform that will help pet parents better communicate, be able to store data about dogs or other pets, predict their health, etc. We’re aiming at millions of users eventually.”
Gideon admits this will require a different funding strategy. “We do hope that some investors eventually will be interested to invest in such a platform because the future is very bright for DogLog,” he says. “Think about all this data we have about dogs, different types of dogs, where they live. There are a lot of things you can do with that information.”