The pandemic has brought flexibility to the forefront whether it be for work or living. This is no different for our dogs that have also had to adjust to our at-home and remote living lifestyles. Dogdrop is a flexible provider of dog care services that’s expanding nationwide to cater to the needs of dog owners. Rather than traditional dog daycare services, where you drop off Buster, for the traditional 9-5 workday, Dogdrop offers on-demand care with clients able to drop off without an appointment and for shorter periods, giving dog parents flexibility when juggling everything on their schedule and providing often much-needed socialization for the dogs. The company opened its first location in Downtown LA just before the pandemic hit our shores and is now poised to scale with a plan to franchise the model to new cities like Charlotte, Austin, Denver, and Salt Lake City as well as expand to new locations across LA. There is a range of pricing options spanning from pay-as-you-go ($10/hr,$40/day) to an unlimited option ($600); Dogdrop also monetizes with its own line of dog care products – wipes and poop bags.
LA TechWatch caught up with Dogdrop CEO and Cofounder Shaina Denny to learn more about how her personal experience led to the company’s founding, strategic expansion plans, latest round of funding, which brings the total funding raised to $3.2M, and much, much more.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We have raised a total amount of $2.9M in funding. The latest funding was led by Fuel Capital with participation from Muse Capital, Animal Capital, Gaingels, The Helm, and leaders in pet care including Mars PetCare and Garrett Smallwood, CEO of Wag!
Tell us about your product or service.
Dogdrop provides top-notch dog care services. Their super convenient, top-quality physical locations and monthly memberships are designed to give urban pet parents more flexible, on-demand access to quality dog care anytime, anywhere, with a brand they can know and trust no matter what city they’re in.
What inspired the start of Dogdrop?
After living and working abroad in China, I had returned back to the US and got my miniature dachshund, Poppy. I was working from home or out of coworking spaces most of the time and just needed a convenient place to drop her off for an hour or two. I wasn’t able to give her the mental stimulation and socialization she needed, even while working from home. A walk simply wasn’t enough. I teamed up with my Cofounder & COO, Greer Wilk, to build convenient and flexible dog care inspired by a new generation of dog parents who want a better quality alternative that fits their lifestyle.
- Small & convenient locations. We are decentralizing dog daycare by putting small and convenient locations everywhere. We think in terms of blocks not miles. 30+ locations in a market.
- On-demand monthly memberships. No appointments are necessary.
- Designed for quick stops. We designed Dogdrop for parents that might just need an hour or two of care while they have an uninterrupted Zoom call or running errands. This allows dogs to get the mental stimulation, socialization, and exercise they need as well. Not all dog parents need traditional dog daycare (M-F from 9-5), but most dog parents could use a couple of hours a couple of times per week.
- Quality of care. Dogdrop offers high-quality training for our team so you can expect consistency of quality at each location.
- Tech-enabled. Our members can track their dog’s progress on their portal and get all the info and resources they need.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
The Pet market is a $100B+ industry.
What’s your business model?
Monthly memberships for services.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business??
Even as dog parents were working from home, they still needed to get their dogs out of the house. Pandemic puppies were huge for us as they have a lot of energy and need to practice socialization during early development. It was important for us to address the safety concerns of our employees during this time as we are a retail business.
What was the funding process like?
It was interesting to fundraise for a retail business tailing the end of the pandemic. Fortunately, many investors have seen the massive boom of the pet care market and see the huge opportunity for what lies ahead from pandemic puppies.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
We realized early we needed to talk to investors who understand four-wall concepts and the pet market opportunity. The biggest challenge was being matched with investors where our domains didn’t align.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
At this stage, our investors were betting on our team, the pet care industry, and our concept that we proved out during the pandemic.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We plan to award our first franchises over the next six months.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Show traction. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you need to prove demand, not just talk about it.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We’re really excited about growing our team. We’ve stayed small and lean and are excited to now expand to better service our customers and potential franchisors. You’ll be seeing a lot more Dogdrop around LA and other markets soon!
What’s your favorite outdoor activity in LA?
I like to hike, but I’d be lying if I said my miniature dachshund loves to as well. We still spend a lot of time trying to hike, but more hanging out at Griffith Park and other outdoor areas.