PawConX is a social community app designed to bring the dog community together to share in its collective knowledge & experience to make pet parenting easier, less stressful & more affordable.
Wanna learn more about the dog community through PawConX?
Check out their website at https://pawconx.com/.
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Hello, I am Kwinton Scarbrough, and you are tuned into the Animal Innovations Show.
You’re tuned in to the Animal Innovations Show, where we feature people, products, services, and ideas that are helping animals and the people who care for them, live better lives. If it’s innovative, and it helps animals, you can find it here first. So, get ready, here comes this week’s newest innovation for animals.
Oh, that was a great introduction! Kwinton, welcome, tell us who you are and how you’re innovating to help animals.
Absolutely. So I am a cybersecurity engineer turned founder of Pet Tech startup called PawConX, and PawConX is a social community app that brings the dog community together to really share in its collective knowledge and experience to ultimately make dog parenting easy less stressful and lastly but not least, more affordable and that’s usually what most dog owners go for is making dog parenting affordable because they can get very expensive.
I love the way you describe the community aspect of this. I mean that is so important and dog lovers want to connect with other people that love dogs, right?
Absolutely. I think there’s about 89 million of us strong in America. Let’s just speak towards that. It was about four billion in the world that are dog owners and we are such an emotionally connected community. Everywhere you go, someone wants to touch your dog. If they see you on the walk, they wave. Everyone knows the struggle and the benefits of being a dog lover. So, it’s definitely an emotionally connected community and I love that.
Yeah. So tell us a little bit more about – how does it work? So, I download the app like what is it doing for me?
With it being emotionally connected, ironically, we are very physically disconnected. We have a very tough time telling each other our name. It almost never happens or it’s the last thing that happens after you discuss where you work, where you live, your Social Security number, you can tell someone everything before you tell them your name. So PawConX work in a very unique way. It works to foster and embrace the natural interactions that happened at dog parks and in a way introduces you to the other dog owners that are within about 1000 ft radius to foster that in-the-moment communication. It pretty much says, “Hey, I’m here. I’m open to communication.” or if you’re one of the extroverts on the side of it, you’re saying, “Hey, I’m here, oh, these people are open to communication. I’m going to go talk to them.” So, it’s just a way to facilitate that interaction.
So in my simple brain it’s kind of like an Airdrop type of a thing if you’re a Mac user, right? Where it’s like, “Hey, here’s what’s nearby, here’s people nearby.” So what – I can click on their profile, I can learn more about them and obviously their dog?
Yeah, absolutely. So, it works within 1000 ft radius. So, anybody can think of dimensions of a dog park. So anybody at the dog park that’s within 1000 ft, it’ll show you who they are and who their dog is and allow you to essentially create a personal pack of compatible people or essentially what we call it on the app, a “dog pack.” So now every time you go to the park in the future reference, you can keep in touch and just schedule a future playdate because, you know your dog gets along with their dog, hopefully you’ve had a conversation with them to know that you and that person had a great conversation and you can just re-meet up again, share future playdates or share and receive trusted information. That’s really the goal – is to create that interpersonal and informational interactions, shall I call it?
Yeah, I love that. I love like you’re making it easy, as you said, I mean, particularly adults, kids will just walk up to somebody and say, “Hey, I’m Chris. Want to play?”, right? And adults are, you know, we kind of watch and then, you know, if their dog goes up to our dog, maybe that’s an excuse to make that connection but this is kind of almost a way that we can see the other people and walk up and I can be like, “Hey Kwinton, nice to meet you.”
Yes. It happens all the time and I use it myself here in Kansas city is if I see someone on the app, if my dog is playing with their dog, I just naturally gravitate towards my dog to make sure that he’s within voice command and then I’ll look at the app and I’ll say, “Oh hey, you know, Zach?” and go “Yeah, yeah. I’m Kwinton, I’m on the app as well.” and next you know, conversation has started and if the dogs continue that good positive interaction, then we trade, we add each other to our packs and now I can meet up with Zach or ask Zach any other question that I may have that is related to the dog parenting lifestyle.
Yeah, the obvious question here is – is this supposed to be a dating app? Is this supposed to be, just, you know, a meet and friend app? I mean, tell us what the real angle is.
It’s designed to bring the dog community together. However, in that togetherness in the dog community, if a romantic or friendship or any type of relationship is spun off, we are happy to support that. Once you get to that romantic relationship, we would suggest maybe texting and not messaging on PawConX, but you can still use it because PawConX is very easy to disconnect from someone. You don’t have to change your number, You don’t have to change your Facebook profile, Instagram profile. Just remove the person from your pack and they can never search for you or even see you if they are within 1000 ft, right? So, it’s almost like a permanent block once you remove someone from your pack.
Yeah, I love that. I love the fact that you’re giving people the power to kind of control who can see them, right? So, I can imagine I first download the app and I’m more curious. I want everybody to see me but as overtime you find some people you don’t jive with, you don’t want them to see you.
Yes. Eventually we want to offer some premium features to where you, before you go to the dog park, you’ll be able to see who’s there, how many of your pack members are there? Therefore, you know, oh, hey, it’s almost like going to a bar. 10 of my friends are at this bar, none of my friends are at this bar. I’m definitely going to go to where my friends are or you can also see how many total dogs are there. So, you’ll be able to see there’s 30 dogs at the dog park, 10 of them are my friends. That’s where I want to be or hey, 30 dogs too many. I’m gonna go to where there’s only four dogs so I can play mutually with my dog. Yeah, Those are the features that we want to bring in place. It’s really just making dog parenting easy.
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I love the connection aspect, I love the engaging the community of dog lovers. So, do you have the ability, or maybe it’s planned in the future, for me to almost help my dog to find the other types of dog that they’re looking for. Is that, or is it more really focused on the people?
It’s definitely focused on the dogs. So, it’s about adding someone who has a dog that gets along with yours. There’s no point of meeting up on the app if you’re not bringing your dog with you and if your dog doesn’t like their dog. You are setting you and them and the dogs up for failure. So, it’s really just around the dog and as you mentioned before with kids and you just run up and say, “Hi, I’m Kwinton. Want to play?” That’s what dogs do. They run up, do the little hop to the side butt down, pow bow, whatever they do and then they’re off to the races and now they’re friends or they can walk up to each other and completely be lying opposite directions and then you know, okay well something about that they just didn’t like about each other and then they go find other friends. So it’s really just taking that the dogs lead. Well, using the dog as the vehicle, let me say that. The dog is the vehicle and if the dog wants to go there, you go there with the dog.
Nice. Now I know you said your day job is in cybersecurity. So, how did you come up with this? It seems like a long way from what your background is in.
Yeah, so I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I thought I was just going to go and spin off my own consulting firm eventually, but I moved down to a location in Branson, Missouri. It’s just kind of a small town and I bought my first house and of course I adopted my dog and I went to the dog park and I was just, I was, they tell you, “Hey, make sure you socialize and meet new people.” and it was very difficult. I almost became known as the creepy guy at the dog park that was just talking to everybody. So, I wanted to, I look for something that would make me more successful at the dog park and I couldn’t find anything. So, I wanted to create something that would make me – not only make me successful – but would make, you know, as a whole, be successful. There are other people that were having this issue. So, I wanted to create an app that I didn’t want to create a profile that you know, was publicly searchable. I didn’t want to have to trade phone numbers. I just wanted to embrace the natural interactions that happened while at the dog park without setting unwanted expectations. Like, you know, I’m married, I’m not here to hit on you. I’d really just want to meet up for the dogs and you ask for a phone number. It automatically goes to a romantic or intrusive, let me say, situation and I was trying to avoid that. So, this was just a way to just, you know, kind of set the tone, “Hey, I’m just here for the dogs. I would like to get the dogs together. They seem to like each other. We’re having conversation, let’s do this again.” and then PawConX came about and people have just loved it.
I like the way you describe yourself as the creepy guy at the dog park, right? It’s awkward though. You bring your dog to the dog park and I mean the dogs all run together and sniff and the adults kind of like, “Hey, how’s it going?” and so it’s a nice way that you’re not making it focused on a romantic relationship. You’re just, when you’re standing there watching your dogs play, you want somebody to talk to, right? You don’t want to just talk about the weather. It’s, it’s kind of like you feel a better connection with somebody when you know their name and you can learn a little bit about their dog and I got to believe it’s giving people the opportunity to just open up that conversation without it feeling so awkward.
Exactly. I mean, you hit it right on the nose, opening up conversation to amongst any topic. You know, you can talk about work, you can talk about life and you can talk about the pet parenting journey, but to open that conversation will lead to other channels of the conversation. You will eventually get to the point of where you’re talking about maybe getting that going out, or mutual people that you know, and then eventually turns into going out to a bar and a restaurant, getting a drink and meeting and growing your friend base, growing your social network. But again, it’s really focused on the dog. You don’t want to meet up with someone on this app that your dog is not getting along with. So, that’s the most important.
So how do people find it? I mean, what’s kind of your marketing strategy to get people to download the app? Because I would imagine I go to the dog park if there’s nobody else there within 1000 ft, I’m just kind of walking around, right? Okay, somebody, how does that work?
Yeah, so that’s been the challenge and that that’s where my cyber security background comes into play is I wanted to make it within 1000 ft radius because I didn’t want another publicly searchable profile. You don’t want to be out there in the public if you don’t absolutely need to be, my dog doesn’t have a Facebook. My dog, well some people’s dog do have Instagram, but you have your dog’s Instagram. This is strictly a social networking for your dog. So the outward nous of it is gone. It’s about real genuine interactions that happen. So, only people you know end up in your pack, only people that you’ve interacted with end up in your pack and no creepy guy that hasn’t seen you before, it can end up in your pack unless you deliberately add him. So the marketing is really, what we’re really banking on is word-of-mouth is when people want to get connected instead of giving out their phone number, they’ll say, “Well… How about you download this app and we can connect that way. But the way we’ve been marketing is we try to hold dog park events at different dog parks here in Kansas city, so it’s very centralized to Kansas city but we eventually obviously want to grant to other states, but we just got to figure out the best way to scale that marketing ability.
Yeah. So what’s the roadmap for this? I mean obviously you’re proving the concept. I’m sure it’s meeting with great success. Where do you take it from here?
Yeah, so we are currently in the Apple App Store only today. The next thing we’re doing is we’re launching a PawConX for Business, which is going to be designed to help pet service providers build their engaged community of loyal customers. So, you got to think if your a… If you’re a dog walker and you have clients when they go to dog parks and they connect with other dog owners, they can showcase who is their dog walker. And if, if someone that I trust trust you, then I will, and as a new client, I will automatically trust you. Because I know from my experience with this other dog owner that you are a good service provider either, he’s well grown, he’s exercised, he’s a good vet, you know, he’s healthy so that you must be a good vet. That’s able, I’m able to your, let me say, your, your engaged community of loyal customers are almost like referral warriors for you. Even passively and actively just by connecting with me, I’m able to see who their service provider is, therefore I’m able to pick which service provider has the most mutual friends with me and then I’m able to actively just ask them, “Hey, who walks your dog?” and they can actively tell me. But it works actively and passively. And that’s where we, we want to generate a mass amount of our revenues from the service providers as a marketing tool for them, but not traditional marketing. Word-of-mouth marketing.
No, I love that. That’s really creative. So obviously your goal is to not have it used just at dog parks, right? It could be used in dog-friendly restaurants or doggie daycare and it could really be used anywhere.
Anywhere pet owners frequent with their pets. It can work there namely dog parks of course because everyone takes their dogs to dog parks these days but anywhere you can frequent with your pets. So, this not only for dogs, this can be changed to cat cafes and you walk into a cat cafe and you don’t have to change your numbers now, just create a profile for your cat. Again, you’re only going to be able to connect with the people that are at that cafe. So, it’s not just limited to dogs. It’s limited to anywhere pet owners frequent with their pets, for sure.
I like the fact you brought up cats because I was going to ask you about cats, right? We don’t typically take our cats to the dog park, right? But I could see like you said, some other uses of this: cat cafes being a great example where you’re meeting other people that are cat lovers.
Yup. I mean if you’re a farmer and you’ve got a horse, maybe you can take your horse to the bar but if you go to a bar that’s known for farmers, you know, create an app, put your horse on there and say, “Hey, I’ve got horses. Who wants to link up?”
Yeah, yeah, right? I love your big thinking. It’s like, “Everybody, bring your horse. Let’s go to the bar!”
Right. No, we might schedule some events. It’s just like, hey, anybody is allowed but this tonight is specifically built around formers. So, there we’re gonna appeal to that culture but if you just love the farm life, come on and, you know, bring your dog profile. No matter what, we’ll be able to see your profile. But, just know that there’s going to be decoration and the culture is going to be targeting farmers. But it doesn’t stop there. It can branch anywhere.
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So the app is free, is there a cost to use it, download, any type of membership or anything?
It is absolutely free. The app will always be free to users. Eventually we’ll offer, as I mentioned a premium service for our users to where they get additional features and we’re working on some subscription things like Chewy where we can just save you money on dog food, dog toys. The vision is so big of where we want to be. The goal is just to make pet parenting easy, less stressful, and affordable. So, you think of it. Feedback on what is the most affordable? What is the most expensive? What’s the most distressful? What’s the hardest thing about being a dog owner? We want that so we can embed that to the app so we can eliminate that. We want to be the go to app, the must have app for any pet owner and that’s the goal, that’s the vision for the future.
That’s a big vision, but it sounds like you’ve got a path to get there and all from being not just a cybersecurity guy, but it’s very different path from what you went to school and what you do for a living. So, that’s really cool.
Opportunity, ideas, come from anywhere. You know, you see a challenge. If there’s no solution, be the solution, make the solution. You’re not the only one facing that challenge, you know, that’s the advice I can give for anybody who’s wanting to get into entrepreneurship and doesn’t know where to start. Just live. Live, identify the problem, find a solution. If that solution doesn’t solve it the exact way you want it to be solved, create the exact way you want it to be solved.
Yeah, I love that because you go through life and through your day and you encounter problems all the time and with that solution mindset, “Hey, why not? Why can’t I solve this? Why can’t I be the one?” So, I know you said it’s on the Apple devices now, obviously I’m guessing you’re probably gonna put that over to android sometime soon as well?
Yeah, we wanna like master Apple first, make sure we’ve got the proven concept, make sure users are, are wanting it and it’s almost taking the Instagram approach and maybe I shouldn’t say this, but Instagram only launched on iPhone and then they made Android users want it so bad that the minute they launched on Android, mass amount of downloads! It was like they were just waiting for that water to drip in the desert and once it dripped, everybody jumped forward. So again, we’re not teasing anyone! It is just a financial issue where we can’t develop both at the same time, but we do want to master it on the iPhone first, or iOS, I should say first and then bring it to the Android users. So, it’s definitely coming, definitely coming. And we are excited and we’re not teasing you! We just we just need to take a strategic approach.
Yeah, just takes a little time to get there. So Kwinton if people want to learn more about the app, they want to learn more about you, connect with you, where can they go?
So the best way to learn about the app is going to be on our website, pawconx.com.
That will give you a very succinct overview of how it works and the benefits of it. Um, you can also look us up on Instagram under the handle pawconx, we’re pawconx across the board pawconx on Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok. Got to be on TikTok these days. But yeah, that will help show you the experience that we have, the experience that we bring, the benefits and value that we bring to the dog community. So, definitely check us out there and of course you can download the app and experience it for yourself.
Yeah. Well, Kwinton, this has been great. I’m really excited that you came on to talk to about it and this is really innovative and I’m excited to see where you’re going to take this. Is there anything else you wanted to mention today before we wrap things up?
Just a real quick, as far as the PawConX, we are really focused on bringing the dog community together. We know there is so much untapped knowledge and experience, and as a dog owner, you almost are afraid to ask for help. So, you go online and you google and you search for hours when really the person you just talk to you for 15 minutes at the dog park could have told you what dog food he feeds his german shepherd, if you also have a german shepherd, or if you’re looking for a groomer or a vet or anything that you need to care for your pet. Instead of going online to get a hundreds of options, just talk to someone that you trust and maybe take a chance on who they trust. That service provider has already proven themselves to the person you trust, so you’re able to trust that service provider as well.
I love that. I love the fact that you’re focused on the dog community and on helping the people and helping the animals. That’s really what it’s all about in the end, isn’t it?
Same as you.
Yeah, for sure. Well, as I always remind people at the end of our show, if you’ve got an idea for somebody I should talk to on the show, somebody that’s got a great product like Kwinton, a service, whatever be. Even if it’s just an idea, just go to innovations.show
and let us know and hopefully we’ll have him on the show! So, thanks again, Kwinton for coming on. I really appreciate it.
Thank you. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
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