By HEATHER SENISON July 31, 2014 amNY Twitter: @HSenison email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
When Adam Pokornicky was looking for a sitter for his dog last summer, he ran into a roadblock. “It’s always awkward to ask your friend because sometimes it feels like a favor, sometimes it feels like an imposition,” he said.
That got him thinking: “What if I can set up a network of my friends, the 20 friends that I would call, and I could figure out a way to incentivize them to volunteer?” As a solution for pet owners everywhere, two weeks ago Pokornicky’s team launched DoggyBnB in the Apple store. The app allows pet owners to create a network of trustworthy animal-people to connect with and rely on.
DoggyBnB users make a profile for their pet and can send out “Woofs” with requests for help, such as someone to walk their dog if they are stuck at work late or to house sit and feed their cat if they have to leave for the weekend.
A sample “Woof,” Pokornicky said, could be, “Hey, can someone watch my dog for me for 20 bucks?” Users pay for the help with a Paypal-like account in Venmo.
They can also use the “Sniffer” function, which Pokornicky described as a “Tinder for dogs,” to connect with other pet owners for things like playdates. People have to request to connect with each other, and once they do they have access to each other’s trusted friends list.
“So there’s this awesome feeling of shared trust that can develop between people,” said Pokornicky, who lives in the West Village and is now DoggyBnB’s CEO.
If you don’t own a pet, you can use the app to make some money periodically by helping out animal-owners in need.
In addition, he said, “sometimes pet parents like helping other people out because now they have a playmate for their dog and they can make a little cash.”
In the next few weeks, DoggyBnB, which in its first few weeks gained nearly 2,400 users, will roll out a referral program to give people monetary credits for getting their friends to download the app. It will also be available for Android users soon.
“A lot of people in New York have things that come up at the last minute,” Pokornicky explained. “[DoggyBnB] gives you another tool in your arsenal to be able to be more functional and more efficient.”