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The Best App For Dog Owners

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Interview: Jason Hanny from Pet Connect

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Pet Connect co-owner, Jason Hanny. We talked about the inspiration of the Pet Connect App as well as the excitement and continued work going into growing their reach.

Pet Connect

isn’t just for pet owners, but pet businesses too. Pet Connect is a free mobile app connecting pet owners to pet-friendly resources through a mobile experience.

As a pet owner

Pet Connect provides access to over 100,000 pet-friendly resources across the U.S.

As a business owner

Pet Connect provides a sales & marketing platform helping pet businesses promote their brands and sell their services

Jason co-owns the app with his business partner, and the original CEO/Founder of the app, Hector Ocasio. “We’ve worked together and known each other for 15 years or so,” Jason explained. Jason previously worked for Hector at Micro Computer Systems Company selling POS technology to the restaurant industry.

As they both lived busy lives, full careers, the events of one weekend in 2015 eventually brought them together as business partners, now co-owners of one of the most resourceful pet apps in the US, Pet Connect.

The weekend went like this

Hector and his wife, Sinead, and their dog🐕, Mason, decided to go on a trip from Silver Spring, MD to Ohio to visit a friend. It was meant as a relaxing trip, and for most of the weekend, it was, until Hector and Sinead were driving home Sunday night and Mason suddenly became violently ill in the car🚗. They quickly pulled over while they were still in the middle of nowhere in Ohio. They got Mason out of the car🚙 and he immediately collapsed. “Sinead is crying, Hector is in panic mode,” Jason explains as he continues to retell Hector’s fearful story. “They were still in Ohio but far from any town they were familiar with.”

They quickly googled search the closest vet.  2️⃣ popped up. One was 2️⃣0️⃣ minutes away and the other was 1️⃣ hour away. “Of course they chose the closest vet.” Jason elaborates. They get to the location and the facility does not exist. The Google listing was inaccurate. Hector called his buddy and told him the situation. His buddy gets online and finds out the hospital does exist, but they had moved several miles away.

A quick note about business addresses when doing a google search. If a business has not claimed their page on Google, the business is not able to update their address.

They were able to quickly take Mason to the new office location. “The vet said, your friend basically saved Mason’s life,” Jason explains with disbelief.

Mason ended up being ok. They gave him some antibiotics and fluids. Several hours later they are driving back to Maryland. The next morning they wanted to go to a pet-friendly restaurant and could not find one. Hector is like ‘There has to be an easier scenario for this.’ He started doing research.

Jason continues

“Hector has worked with Open Table, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and ChowNow so he is very familiar with that kind of environment.” Hector created and launched a POS(point of sale) system for Micros Computer Systems Company that did over a billion dollars in sales in a 13 year period, with Jason being the number one sales rep for that computer system in the country. Once again, Hector was very familiar with the technology. He did some app investigating but all he found was Rover.com, Wag.com, and a vet app here and there. Nothing really out there similar to what he wanted to create. He had something in mind that would help pet owners quickly access info on the closest vets, pet care centers pet stores, and other related pet care services.

Hector interviewed thousands of pet owners and hundreds of businesses. He gathered all of this information and then created this sandbox app. But he realized he needed to wrap a business around this.

That is where Jason came in. Hector wanted a partner and immediately thought of Jason because of his background. You can hear the respect in Jason’s voice as he further discussed the beginning of their partnership. “Hector and I are like Ying and Yang. We have complementary skill sets.”

That’s the background on how the app came to be. But a lot of work was put in leading up to the launch of the app.

The chosen launch

was before the 2017 Super Pet Expo in Chantilly, VA. Super Pet Expo is a three-day event full of educational presentations, entertainment, and shopping for pet lovers. Jason and Hector had purchased a 10×10 booth. Jason explained, “We were like wouldn’t it be cool if we got 50 people to download our app?” They thought they could do well, but had no idea how well they would do. When they got there on Friday the booth was immediately inundated with people who wanted to learn more about the app and download it.

We quickly realized Friday night we cannot handle the amount of volume with the two of us. So I called my sister who lives close by and said, hey look, I need all hands on deck, your kids, friends, husband, everybody.

They had close to 15 people working a 10×10 booth and they still could not keep up. It was incredible. That Saturday, a bunch of businesses, other vendors at the show, started coming up to them wanting to know how they could get on Pet Connect. They stood in line, entering their info into the app. Amazingly, a couple of days later they were approached by a company that wanted to buy Pet Connect. It was flattering but they did not want to pursue that opportunity. Hector and Jason seemed to know they had something good on their hands.

Fast forward a couple of months, Jason and Hector are continuing to bring businesses on. Soon they realized the app was designed more for pet owners and not solving the pet business side.

We had created a double side market business space. We have the pet owner’s side but had not solved the pet business side. We took the latter half of 2017 and redesigned the app to what you see now. We did a general lease of the first version in January 2018.

Since then

the duo has expanded from 46 business to over 100k businesses in the country. Current resources include daycare, groomers, pet stores, veterinarians, rescues and shelters, trainers and more.  The app became such a huge hit in a short amount of time. Hector and Jason had clearly found a need in the pet industry. Make sure to download their app to stay up to date on upcoming resources such as hotels, restaurants, parks, beaches, restaurants, apartment complexes, campgrounds.

Pet Connect is not just a helpful app but it’s a well-designed one.

It was Hector and another buddy who worked at Hyatt Marriott, who took on the app design. Jason explained to me that part of the business:

Both know a lot about what people look for, where they look, how many words should be on a line, color scheme, and all kinds of tidbit information that should be on an app. That’s what you see now. It has graduated now with several features such as chip IDs, request appointments from service providers, and local target advertisements per zip code.

I asked Jason about their market and he said millennials. “They are the largest pet owner group in the world. The pet rescue gives the dog to the millennial with the paperwork and the millennials are like, I don’t have a file cabinet.” He goes on to explain that millennials want something on their phone that allows them to access everything they need for their pet. It’s not just about seeing what stores are nearby it’s about storing information. Jason explains:

You have the geolocation of your phone no matter where you travel in the country, having access to your pet records in the cloud. It’s secure. You can link family members and share to a vet if there is an emergency. It’s an all-inclusive app and first of its kind in the world.”

The app has now added

pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, dog parks, beaches, and product companies. The access Pet Connect can provide for owners is endless. It’s definitely a must-have for millennials as Jason explained to me, but really any pet owner. As we were finishing up our conversation, I asked him what it’s been like working on this app. He said, “We went from being excited, to scared, to now proud.” Jason elaborated:

It clearly has been a crazy ride for Jason, Hector, and their team. With everything the app offers and everything, they continue to add and upgrade, their reach is endless. I thanked Jason for his time. It’s really wonderful hearing such an interesting story about people who found a niche in the market and delivered. Here at The Marvelous Mrs Dogwalker cat and dog blog, we are huge fans. Spread the word. You can download their app on the App Store or get it on Google Play. For more information, visit their website https://www.petconnectapp.com/

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