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Invest your time in your education

Dogo personalize training plan for dogs that is based on positive reinforcement and clicker methodology

Hi there! Could you please introduce yourself and Startup Dogo to our readers?

I’m Tadas Žiemys co-founder of the Dogo App. My background is computer science and more specifically, I have been working as an iOS developer for the last 12 years. Nowadays I don’t have many chances to write code (even though I still love it!) and my main responsibilities in the company are trying to find perfect Pricing for the services we offer and the most important job –  leading the team by making sure everyone can do their best work.

Where did you get the idea to start Dogo?

It all started when we adopted our dog Ūdra from the shelter. She was such a cute small devil and we decided to try out dog training school. Very quickly we understood 2 things: Ūdra does not enjoy the company of other dogs during the training. And that Ūdra is extremely smart and loves training! She learned everything very quickly, enjoyed the attention, the treats, and all this quality time together. We decided to continue the training at home and started looking for tools that could help us with that. We didn’t find anything better than books so we came up with our own idea – first a gamified mobile app that your dog loves! Everyone loves their best friends but smartphones are big attention thieves and we wanted to change that by creating Dogo – my dog’s favorite app. 

What is Dogo’s vision?

At Dogo, we help, educate and motivate everyone who lives, works, and spends time with dogs to create a unique and enriching relationship for the benefit of dogs and their parent(s) 

From idea to launch, what have been the biggest challenges so far and how did you finance yourself?

Having an amazing idea, that you believe in and that solves the real problems is incredibly important but the first step is to start. Most of the ideas die in our heads and we don’t even try them in the real world. It almost happen to us too, as we had the idea in 2013 but only started working on it in 2016. 

We financed ourselves for the first 2.5 years first by working on the idea after work, on weekends, later from our personal savings and by freelancing. First external money came accelerator (APX). They were incredibly helpful to make us “investor-ready”. After that, we got money from angel investors and my previous bosses – Moritz Hohl and Marius Jeuck. They also mentored us and with their help, it became much easier to attract other amazing angels. And just recently, we closed our last round that was led by Change Ventures and Monkfish. 

Who is your target audience?

Our ideal customer is young professionals, living a busy urban life that just got their first puppy. We have content for all different behavior challenges and different environments but our focus has been early stages of a dog’s life so if you just got a puppy Dogo is the best thing you can get for yourself to become the parent that your dog deserves. 

How does Dogo work? What is your USP? What differentiates you from other providers?

When user downloads the app, we ask them to enter information about their goals, what their dog know and struggles with. Then we generate and personalize the training plan that is based on positive reinforcement and clicker methodology. Then everyday, users have lessons that are separated into 3 parts – theory, execrise for dog and activity to do together with the dog. Once users learn a trick or think that they know the exercise well they can take an exam. Film how their dog does it, send it to our dog trainers and then in 24h we send back if they passed it and add additional tips and suggestions what could they do to improve. Our biggest differentiators from competitors is amazing UI/UX and customer success that will make sure we will find a personal solution to our customer’s needs

Where do you see yourself and Dogo in five years?

At Dogo our sturcture is not based on a traditional hierarchical system. We work as self-organizing team where authority and decision-making is distributed throught the different teams and roles. In 5 years I see my role being less hands-on but being able to focusing more on making sure that as organization we are fulfilling our vision and that everyone in the company knows well why we exist. How we pursue our purpose is as important as making sure we are fullfilling it. 

We want to grow as company so that we would be able to do more for our users. With new colleagues joining we will be able to expand and be useful for entire dog parent journey from the very puppy to the golden senior years. We want to be a one-stop app that covers all dog parent needs. If we can do it in 5 years – amazing. If it will take us 15 years to get there, it’s also ok!

What three tips would you give founders?

invest your time in your education. read books, take courses. You will need to fill in so many different roles so you must learn new things quickly

It’s a marathon. Pace yourself and take care of yourself and the people around you. It’s easy to burn out and it takes a lot of time to recover.

Coaching and mentoring is an incredible way to boost your productivity, grow and achieve incredible things faster than you imagined. I absolutely recommend finding a coach and mentor who could help you.

Thank you Tadas Žiemys for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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