Startup Of The Week

Startup of the Week: GetPet
Nov 04

It’s an initiative and it’s great! GetPet is a mobile, easy to use app, where you can find dogs from local shelters. Some say it’s like Tinder, just with dogs. You open GetPet, browse dog profiles by swiping left or right. You can arrange a date with a dog you like, come to the shelter and take a walk together. Spend some time, run around. Come again, and again. Adopt a pooch. Be happy together. Sounds interesting? Let’s read the whole interview with GetPet team!

What are your competitors and competitive advantages?

We have no competitors – just plenty of companions in the struggle to help stray pets. There are many means to help homeless animals and communicate the message. Facebook has done a huge service for this cause, especially for shelters. Facebook’s reach is immense, but there is a major flaw in the design. The message, the call, the photo, the pet is lost in the never ending post stream. 

GetPet is an answer. It’s a lasting platform for pet adoption. Once the pet gets the profile in the app, it stays visible until adoption. 

What were the reasons behind coming up with this idea and launching this product?

GetPet was conceived during a hackathon. The goal of the event was to find ways to improve the capital city of Lithuania. Our team decided to tackle stray animal problem. Research showed that people are willing to adopt a pet, but there are various issues that encumber final decision. Usually, it’s lack of information, lack of preparation, commitment, fractured communication between shelters and potential adopters. 

We addressed these issues and came up with GetPet, a solution for easier pet adoption process. We’ve got major approval in the event and won the grand prize. It took a few months until we secured the agreements with shelters and released the app publicly.

When exactly did you launch, what were the main challenges before launching?

We started with an idea of temporary adoption of sheltered animals. You bring the pet home for a week and see if you can get along. In the meantime, the shelter holds the space reserved, in case the pet returns. This option has many advantages from potential owner perspective, but after a thorough research about animal psychology and consultations with animal shelters, we had to pivot from our initial idea. 

We aim for a long term adoption and to facilitate the process we introduced mentorship program. Everyone who brings home a sheltered pet, receives a mentor  for a smooth start. Mentors provide support on important animal related decisions and point mentee’s actions towards the right direction. Mentors help on a voluntary basis and for the future pet owners this service is free of charge. 

The app was launched in early 2019 with a great public response.  

What are your target customers? Both in terms of user profile and geography?

Our customer base is two-fold. First of all, we serve shelters. GetPet provides an easy-to-use, browser-accessed platform to upload and share animal profiles. Secondly, our customers are all the people who are considering adopting a pet. GetPet is an appealing digital space to get to know pets and connect with shelters. 

The demand geography is very large, both shelter and owner-wise, but our resources are limited. So far, we are working with the biggest shelters around Vilnius area. We are ready to spread out. 

What are main challenges while working on this product and how are you overcoming them?

To deliver the most appealing pet profiles, our team members work on the content directly. This means we drive to shelters, walk the dogs, take pictures, do visual post-production, write cute descriptions and upload everything to the app. It takes time. It’s hard to scale. But the quality is excellent. 

Now we are looking for the best way to delegate the content curation to shelters, but maintain the quality we expect.

How are you funded? Do you seek extra funding?

Monetization of a social initiative app is not an easy task. Therefore, the first stage of GetPet is not about revenue. It’s about reach, experimentation and impact. That’s why GetPet is not just an app. It’s a broader initiative with an NGO behind it. 

The hackathon prize helped to set up the initial infrastructure and cover minor expenses. Everything else comes from a voluntary initiative, partnerships and donations. Nevertheless, extra funding or revenue stream is important for maintaining momentum and coherent implementation. 

Please introduce your founders, your core team and your broader team?

Nine of us built the project and spun the buzz. We come from different backgrounds – from programming to marketing. Team members maintain various positions in GetPet according to their calling. We contribute to the project on a voluntary basis and are always open to other people who would like to join the initiative. 

How has business been so far? Could you share some numbers to illustrate this (users, sales, etc)?

For GetPet it’s not about sales, but about reach and impact. We generated large  media attention worldwide, got many requests to bring GetPet service abroad. The app was downloaded in thousands and we have hundreds of daily users. We are happy that the platform has helped to adopt local dogs and raise awareness of the homeless pets issue. 

We maintain contact with many organizations around the world who are tackling the homeless animal issue. Together we learn from our mistakes, successes and try to find new ways to alleviate the animal homelessness problem. 

Future plans, ambitions? Simply speaking – what’s next?

We aim to reach every Lithuanian shelter and bring more pet profiles to GetPet from across the country. After that – the Baltic region. 

Secondly, we are looking forward to growing our NGO, maintaining a close relationship with other organizations and finding ways of making a real impact.

So far, GetPet hosts only dogs. The interest to bring cats to the platform is immense. Eventually, cats will land on their feet in GetPet.