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Forget about dating apps – this dating app will help you find the perfect pet in a few moments. We talked to founder Jay Graham about her app and how to start a business at university.
We’ve all heard about using dating apps to find love in our lives, but how about being with them to find loving pets who need a home?
This unique business idea was coined by Jay Graham while studying economics and sociology at university.
We talked to Jay about the ideas of this (pretty honestly) close app.
This interview was first published in 2018.
Dating app for cats and dogs
Jay and her family are already passionate about rescuing rescue dogs, so when she had to present a business idea for a sophomore module at the University of Kent, some brainstorming made her come up with the idea of Pawfect Match.
I decided that a new app that would help find shelter for animals would make the search for animal rescue more interesting and push more people to rescue.
After submitting her idea to the competition in 2016, she received mentoring and business funding to knock it out of its place, and the business has since gone from strength to strength.
So how does the app actually work and what are Jay’s tips for novice entrepreneurs?
How Pawfect Match helps pets get chaos
Pawfect Match works like many popular dating apps – swipe right if you’re interested, and left if you’re not.
Except that instead of looking closely at potential love interests, you spend for pets.
Rescue centers across the UK can load their animals in need of homes in one quick and easy process.
Users can then search for these animals according to the characteristics that best meet the needs of their household.
The idea is that every rescue dog or cat will have specific needs and characteristics and, serving, each house will be suitable for some animals and not for others. Users set their filters as in a regular dating app, but there are a few different options …
If you are looking for a dog, for example, you choose your own preferred age range, sex, dog size and whether you need a dog that can live around children or other dogs.
Once your filters are set up, you will be able to conduct a selection of dogs and cats to suit your needs. You swipe right on those you like and left on those you don’t care about.
On each animal profile the user can see all their information as well as images, videos and details of the shelter on which they are based.
Once you’ve found the one you like, you have a cherished match! You will then be able to contact the animal shelter through the app or contact them separately.
The app is currently suitable for human cats and dogs, but in the future Jay plans to extend this to other animals as well.
She hopes that by simplifying the process of taking dogs and cats and helping to match the right animals to the right owners, she will need increase in the number of rehomed.
I would say that rescuing an animal is the most rewarding experience because you know you saved a life as well as freed up a shelter space to save another.
Not only that, they will be grateful for a lifetime.
Set up a mobile app business
Of course, to reach the stage that is now, Pawfect Match will require a lot of hard work and dedication.
After winning the Business Start-Up Journey competition, Jaye applied to his university’s seed fund to get started.
My family also managed to raise funds to start working. But eventually it came together now thanks to a recent partnership with a big technology company called DevAngels that I could do.
Because Jay doesn’t study a practical business course at college, she had to develop skills when she goes, and admits she made a mistake along the way.
But thanks to these mistakes and learning the lessons when things go wrong, Jay was able to bring his vision of the app to life.
I believe that business skills are acquired through experience, mainly from mistakes, but also through training from other business owners.
My parents run a successful business, so I learned a lot from them as well.
How to start a business at university
So how easy is it to set up a business at university? And with so many startups these days that have a digital focus, do you need the technical skills to succeed?
According to Jay, if you need these people on your team, you don’t need to be a technology wizard to get started.
You need to be a technical expert to create [a business]. I so wanted to start, I taught myself to create a website and use Photoshop to design, etc.
But you need technical experts on your team to create the app (in any case to a professional level).
So if technical skills are not the key to success, what is? Although having a great business idea is one thing, having the skills to turn it into reality and start making money is a completely different ball game.
According to Jay, it’s about working with the people around you – be it classmates, other business owners or the opportunities that are offered at your university.
You need to set up contacts. Enter the help provided by the university and most importantly allow anything or someone to knock you down or make you quit.
I almost gave up a few times when things were wrong with my first developers, but now I’m glad I’m sticking with it.
In addition, universities often have schemes and opportunities that help students create a business you won’t find anywhere else – which is why Jay believes the university has become for her the perfect time to build an app.
Pawfect Match is now available on iOS and Android, so if you or your family are able to offer a pet forever at home, download it and spend.
Any animal rescue centers who would like to be part of the app can contact Jay on Facebook.
A big animal lover? Learn about a university that helps students relax in classes with dog walking.