Episode 14: Leigh D’Angelo – Dig and Tabby

Leigh D'Angelo

Leigh D'Angelo

Dig is a dating app for dog people while Tabby is for cat people. Dig and Tabby are pawsome ways for dog and cat lovers to find a compatible match and plan a dog or cat-friendly date!

 

Interested in finding your pawfect or purrfect match on Dig or Tabby?

Check out Dig’s website at www.digdates.com.

Visit Tabby’s website at www.tabbydates.com.

 

Follow Dig on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DigDates/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/digdates/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DigDates

 

Follow Tabby on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tabbydates

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tabbydates/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tabbydates


Hi, I’m lee DeAngelo Ceo and co founder of dig the Dog persons dating up and Tabby the Cat persons dating up. And you’re tuned in to the Animal Innovation Show. You’ve tuned into the Animal innovation 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 if it helps animals, you can find it here first. So get ready. Here comes this week’s newest innovation for animals. What a fantastic introduction. I think I’m going to hire you full time. So thank you lee so much for coming on. So tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals. Sure, I am Ceo and co founder of dig dates. We have dig for dog people. We’ve got Tabby for Cat people, two very important niches for the dating app world. A lot of people ask us are we more dating or are we more pets? And it’s cheesy, but we’re more love, right? We want people finding those connections with humans and you already know, especially you and you’ve got a shirt right now. I don’t know if everyone’s listening, but three cats, very proud, very, you know, emotional, but you’ve already got that love there and you want to share that with other people. And so um yes to dating apps very much focused on finding a compatible lifestyle, Finding your perfect person who can mesh with your perfect animals. Nice. I love that. So, I mean, it’s been a couple of decades now since I was in the dating world. So tell me a little bit more about how the apps work. I mean, are you filling out a profile on you on the animal? I mean, give some insight. Yeah, great question. So you log in and you say, if you’re looking for someone, I’m going to pick, dig to start, but dig and tabby work very similarly. But you log in, if you say, if you’re looking for someone with a dog or without a dog, you know, a third of our users don’t have a dog yet. They want to date someone with a dog, which is our number one running ad. You know, date someone with a dog with a bonus, Right? Uh, so that’s really important. I want to say right off the bat is that dig and tabby are for dog and cat lovers? Not just owners were about the full lifestyle and especially, you know, right now, people are going left and right with rescue and you’re seeing more and more pet ownership, but it’s not always easy, especially in one bedroom or studio apartments in certain cities across the country, It’s very hard to find pet friendly housing. So again, we are very much focused on your lifestyle, not just right now. You know where you want to be, who you want to be with, the type of life you want to lead. So you log in and you say if you’re looking for someone with a dog or without a dog, and then you can add a section of your profile for you. And if you haven’t been on a dating app before, you’ve got to fill out the basics, you’ve got to put a great well lit close photo of your face. So people know who you are very important. And then you’ve got a section for your dog as well. And so you can add specific photos of your animals. You can add what we call tags, like a dog tag or a tag for the cats. And it has different information about your animals. So are you a cuddler? Are you a hunter? Are you hairless? Are? And when I say you I’m talking about the dog but of course you can fill out this information for the animals. Yeah I guess you could write all that information in your bio for yourself as well. Very important. But you search for people in different ways. So the way digging tabby work, you can swipe as you may have heard another dating apps, you can swipe through left and right if you want to find someone. But we’ve got other ways to find people on digging tabby to which we love. Of course it’s sorry apps but on dig it’s called the Digital Dog park. So we have a dog park. So it’s more like a social feed where you can interact with everybody on the app in a public way. So you can share stories, you can share date ideas. We post daily deals from different pet companies there. You can post, try out to pick out line and see what other people think about it before you actually use it in a message. We’ve got different surveys that people fill out, which are really fun because everyone sees what everyone else in the app is thinking. So uh you know what’s the number one reason you need a cat hair remover? Is it because your cat sleeps in your bed with you? Is it because the cats always on the table? Is it because you can’t get cat hair off of your clothing and you just see what everyone else is saying and it sparks conversations, which is really fun. So on our app you’re able to, like I said, swipe left and right, find people head to the dog park or on tablets called the cat tree to interact with everybody on the app. And then we’ve also got a lot of other features too. You can go in the tabby ab it’s called caddy which is a section with tips and tricks from vets and trainers, adoptable animals, you know, date ideas for the summer, for winter for covid or whatever it may be. So there’s a lot of ways to interact with other animal lovers on both apps, not just your swipe left and right. Very cool. So now you must have a really proprietary algorithm that goes into the matching and recommendations. And does it combine both the people and the head aspects of things? Yeah, exactly. The first most important thing is that we’re showing you who you want to see. So you know, algorithm aside, we try to give you as much that you can maneuver for your own search criteria. And so what does that mean for you? Maybe you have a dog that doesn’t get along with other dogs. So you want to find someone who will love your dog as much as you do and that’s enough, right? You don’t need to fill the house, other people want to have 12, you know, whatever you might be looking for, we are trying to match that. And so that’s really important actually. That came from my mother who had to Bavarian bloodhounds who loved each other and loved people but could not get along with other dogs. And so building these apps from the start, you know, I started this company with my sister, we took these very personal stories and thought about how it it made such a huge difference to your home and your lifestyle when it comes to finding the right person to mesh with something you already love. And so we’ve built the entire both apps around the idea that it’s about true compatibility. Oh, I love that. I think it’s really cool like you said. I mean this sounds like it came from a very personal place now. What’s the feedback you get from people? I mean are they loving this? Are they finding their perfect match? Are they doing it? I mean it sounds like the dog park and the cat tree or places you can even just have fun. What’s the first thing we hear from people all the time is Oh, thank God. Waiting for somebody. Exactly. Exactly. And I’ve got to say because we launched to be more recently, especially from the cat people, you know, cat people on general dating apps, especially guys had a harder time than people without cats. There’s a study out there that showed that men actually did worse when they had cats and their photos and it’s just coming from a place of bias, non understanding cat, people will tell you that they’re animal lovers, whereas dog people are just dog lovers, right? And so that world, even though we’re all animal people and we get it and you get it and I get it giving people that safe place to really celebrate what they love and find someone who agrees with them. It’s just this overwhelming feeling because you don’t have to cut through, you know, any of that to find someone you can cut to the chase, find someone you’re really compatible with and I know I keep saying that word, but it’s it’s truly at the core of everything we do. And so it’s that overwhelming feeling of finally I can talk to people about the next step, right? Like we’ve got the basics down now. I can let my walls down and really find out. If you know, I like the person, right? We know you love animals, but maybe you’re not sure how you can get involved to help save the hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs needlessly euthanized every year. Did you know there’s one place you can go to to sign up as a volunteer transporter foster or even social ambassador for rescue animals Joubert dot com is custom built by animal rescuers. For animal rescuers. You simply create a profile and choose the ways that you can help Do. But is proud to support more than 5000 rescues and shelters and more than 30,000 duper tears just like you working to save animals join us and you can save lives simply go to www dot google dot com to get started today. Yeah. Well, you know that they like the animals at least that you’re searching for. Right? So now like you said, is do you like them? But that’s kind of secondary. And as long as they get along with my dog, I mean that’s what I’m gonna check it out with, write a huge check box. Yeah, exactly. So now does this app work in the U. S. Is it global? Like what’s that like? Yeah. So for dig, we launched that first. We launched city by city across the country with big dog friendly events in every city we went to if you go to dig dates dot com slash past events, you’ll see in the before times when we could all be together. We had hundreds of people and dogs. City by city bringing together different pet companies and rescues and different nonprofits. In every city we went to really celebrating pet friendliness in that area. And we launched city by city during Covid. We opened it up nationally as people were returning to whatever home across the country we found we really needed to open that up and celebrate that. We also launched during Covid the ability to log in on your computer. So before it was just apps. And now, since you’re often at home and you don’t need to be on the smaller screen, you want to see that big, beautiful dog face of the person you’re looking at on your computer screen. You’ve got that option two. It does work in many different countries. Our main focus is the U. S. Right now, but we’re certainly getting a lot of excitement all over the place in brazil and Mexico in the UK, places where dogs and cats are a big part of the culture, just like here our dogs and our cats and as you said with Covid now they’re even more part of our family, right? Because I think if I ever have to go back to the office, I think my animals are going to revolt against me because they’re saying no, dad, like you’ve been home now for almost a year, you’re not going anywhere. It’s a huge conversation and people talk about that on the apps all the time. You know, what are we going to do? How are we going to handle that? That’s why we’ve integrated vets and trainers into the platform. Was we really do want, you know, first of all, we want your first date to be safe, right? If you have, you know, how do I introduce these animals? How are we going to get these cats to live together? You’re starting to think about that right from the beginning as you’re excited and you’re talking to new people and you’re starting to go on dates. And so we really wanted to be a part of that conversation to make sure things really work out nice. So now people obviously can connect and like you said, swipe left, swipe, right. So does that matching kind of thing. And then I’m guessing during covid, are they? Do you find that people are setting up more virtual meet and greets initially? Yeah, definitely. You know what we said on dig from the beginning is if you are going to go out dog, people are going to take dog walks. Right. So you’re going to eventually see the outdoors probably at least once a day. And so we say, if you’re thinking about a date, obviously the number one most important thing is to have a very serious conversation up front on what a safe date looks like for you all the time, but also during Covid. Right? So we suggest to leash lengths apart if you guys are going on a first walk together, that’s about your six ft, Right? And then there are a lot of awesome businesses out there who are doing everything they can to make things safe. So we work with cat cafe in L. A. They built an outdoor cat patio so you can’t bring your cat. But if you want to be around cats and have a date there, a volunteer date, which we love to. That’s an awesome option. So we try to encourage by tapping into our world of pets and hub of pet influence that we have in these different cities to figure out some really unique ways for people to safely meet up during this time. Yeah, that’s really cool. Now. I I know you also mentioned because you said your mom was kind of one of the inspirations that obviously people don’t have to have a pet of their own but if they like people with animals. So I mean are you finding that that’s something that’s really attracting people to this? Definitely. Yeah. Our number one ad online is date someone with a dog right now. And I do want to mention every ad that we have features adoptable animals. So if you see a dig or tabby advertisement across facebook or google and it’s got a big beautiful cat or dog on it, those are available for adoption. We work with different rescue groups, but I am physically based in new Orleans. So a lot of them are Louisiana area shelters. Yeah, that’s really cool for somebody that’s big and rescue like me. I definitely appreciate that. I think that’s great that you’re using your platform to help raise awareness to those animals that don’t have a home because you never know right? Somebody might see them and meet somebody and the two of them can give the animal a home together. So perfect matches all around. Yeah, So take us back. I mean you said it’s been like three years, take us back to the time where you had the ah ha moment and you and your sister decided no, like let’s really do this. So a few years ago my sister was dating a guy who tried to be a dog person for her and by the end of the relationship he didn’t want the dog in his apartment or he’d put towels down on the couch so the dog didn’t touch anything. And when I say dog, I really mean stuffed animal, this is a cava pu which is a straight up teddy bear. It is, it doesn’t even shed, You know, for someone who doesn’t like dogs, this is the closest thing you can find to a not dog, right? So so sweet loving to everyone and they just couldn’t make it work. And she said to me, I wish I just knew from the start that this wasn’t going to work because of my dog, this is not something she’s willing or even would consider giving up. This is a member of her family. And so we said that this clearly has to be something that’s up front. There’s a lot of different dating apps out there. You can find dating apps where there’s nothing you have to have in common. Total general ones that we love Bumble tinder do extraordinarily well, then there’s very, very niche ones. You know, we both love yoga or we both you know eat a lot of kale or whatever it is for us. This was a really middle ground because pet ownership is huge. 55% of single adults in the U. S. Are pet owners with dogs leading the way and cats very close behind. You can call it niche for sure but it’s still a good chunk of people out there available for this. But it really comes down to, it matters so much to your entire life. It matters how often you travel, it changes, you know the way that you spend your money, how clean you keep your home. You know most dog owners now sleep with their dog in their bed and so if you’re talking about long term relationship that’s a conversation that needs to be pretty soon upfront. So uh we just exactly that ah ha moment turned into, wow, we could really change lives and the idea that people could find love with something that we created and that’s incredible. Now did either of you have a background in technology and mobile app development? I mean how did you go about tackling that? Where do you begin? So we like to say that Casey makes things look good, I make things sound good and we needed someone to make it work. So my backgrounds in tv news reporting and journalism and a few other things on that side. And my sister was in advertising design and worked for big agencies in new york and L. A. And we knew how to tap into incredible resources. Like I said I’m based in New Orleans, which is not where you think of right off the bat for big hub of technology but they want to be. So what’s really cool is the city really stepped up? They’ve got incredible resources connected me with a a CTO right from the start and someone who wanted to be involved and gave us seed funding and resources to get the business going. And so really using our resourcefulness and curiosity to tap into the right resources to make it happen. And since then, we’ve been really embedded in both the pet industry and the dating industry and we were able to raise funds to build the company from grants from both of them. So we want a big marketing grants from Purina, which was really exciting. And then also we won the million dollar dating project on the dating app side. And so both industries really saw potential here for so many reasons. We were just tapping into a different side of pet ownership. You know, the way that humans interact with each other all around the idea of their dogs and their cats. And then on the dating side, like I said, it’s it’s a niche but it was something bigger than that, an opportunity to incorporate this emotional, dedicated single base in a new way. And so both wanted to see us succeed, which we did too. So we took their help and I’ve been working with them every step of the way to try to reach more people. Have you seen amazing animal foster videos on facebook and instagram and wondered how you could create videos for your foster cats to highlight their true personalities and get them adopted. Do you want to be an adoption ambassador for your foster animals? But lack the tools to easily capture and post compelling video of their true personality. Is your shelter rescue group signed up as an organization on Dilbert through the revolutionary foster space module do. It is the only platform that has adoption ambassador pages so that you as the foster can upload videos and photos of your foster animal to their own unique instagram style page. Be an adoption ambassador for your foster animal and help them to get adopted faster sign up for free at www dot google dot com and fell out your foster profile and let your shelter rescue know today about Joubert foster space so that you can get started. Wow, that’s really cool. And this is all in the last what? Three years? Yeah, the idea, I mean day one of signing the documents that this is officially going to be a business was 2017 but we launched just in new york on valentine’s day of 2018 with a giant awesome launch party with hundreds of dogs and people. And then every month after that, we launched in a different city for dig before opening it up for Covid to everyone. And then we launched Tabby on International Cat Day this summer in the middle of the Covid lockdown. You know, we said that launching a business in the middle of Covid isn’t easy, but cats were probably the least affected uh in terms of not being able to get out that are not often going many places. Obviously they’re interacting with humans even more, which for us makes even more sense. You’ve got your cat top of mind even more so than you normally do. And so as you’re looking for people and you know, you’ll be able to date with your cat by your set. Yeah, that’s really cool. So what’s next for these? I’m sure you have a plan and a road map. All the things that you’re going to do, What does that look like? Well, first we just want more people to fall in love. So we’re doing everything we can to get this into the hands of more people. We launched VIP membership for cat lovers. So it’s a it’s a tear which will give you more boost more visibility, but we are definitely incorporating more ways for the community to engage. I know this is going to air at different times, but tomorrow by, you know, from when we’re recording, this is our first happy hour and happy hour on both of the apps. So it’s something we’re trying where every feature is completely free. Everyone is upgraded to that VIP membership for a few hours and it’s a way for us to replace what we were doing before, Covid, which was our events where we were really bringing people together. And so we are definitely trying new ways to get people to be able to interact in ways that they can’t right now and see how we can encourage more people to meet in a very safe covid conscious way. I think that’s really cool. I really like the fact that you’re innovating and trying to take advantage if you will of what’s going on with the global pandemic to say, well, the dating world has changed, right? And how do you help your customers to adapt to that? And like you said, everybody’s at home. And so how do you engage them? And how do you help them to make that connection to find their forever partner? That’s also going to love their forever animals. And the ideas happier homes are going to benefit the animals so much, you know, from the very basics of having two people available to walk the dogs in the morning. So it’s not always on you or hopefully, you know, one day possibly do paychecks to pay for vet bills or whatever it may be. You know, the animals being able to interact with each other in a really healthy way. We just really believed from the start that bringing the people together would ultimately benefit the animals in a really unique way as well. And so we wanted to really promote that. No. And I really love the aspect because it does help animals, right. There are times in the animal welfare world, right that animals get turned into shelters because it doesn’t work out with the humans home and things like that. And so you’re solving that problem up front and you’re allowing those people that have the passion for their animals to, like you said, that’s important to them and they want somebody else that believes in that if they don’t, hey look, you’re not a match for me, Right? Go try one of the other ones, Right? Yeah, absolutely. And you touched on something to, you know, we’re not encouraging people to meet on the app and go get animals right away. Right. Like this is why a huge part of what we push all the time is that you’re trying to find the right person that’s going to benefit you and the animals. We don’t want just a ton of adoptions because you both met on tabular or dig right away. You know, you still have to go through the process and make sure this is right for you, but hopefully we’re giving you the tools to make that decision. Yeah. No, I think it’s really super cool. Obviously if people want to know more and they want to try it, it sounds like they could do it via the app or online. Where do they go? Yeah, you can go to tabby dates dot com or dictates dot com Online on social. We’re at tabby dates and at big dates you can find both apps on the app store and google play and like we said before, you’ll be able to log in as an app or just head to the website and use your desktop now, which is super exciting. And so we hope to see you all there. Yeah, that’s really cool. Well I’ve really enjoyed having you on here today, lee is there anything else you wanted to mention before we wrap things up tonight? Oh no, I just love this podcast. I love what you’re doing. I listened most recently to the episode about someone who’s working with rescue dogs and behavioral science and new ways and new innovations for rescue groups to really make sure people understand what aggressive really means when it comes to dogs and how that’s more about fear. And just the conversations you’re having are so, so important. We love having them as well. And so you know, if there’s anything we can do to help promote events from your nonprofit, if you’re listening or rescue in any way, we are really creative in ways that we can get the really awesome things that are happening out there in front of our dog lovers and cat lovers. So feel free to reach out to us again at tabby dates and at big dates. We would love to hear from you as well. Cool, well thank you so much for that lee and of course we’ll remind our viewers and listeners if they’ve got an idea for somebody I should interview on the show, just go to innovations that show and tell us about it. So thanks again. Leave for coming on. I really appreciate it. Thanks so much chris Thanks for joining us for the animal innovations show. If you want to volunteer to help animals, check out Dilbert dot com where you can join tens of thousands of duper tears, supporting rescues and shelters around the world to help animals. And if you know if something or someone innovative that’s helping animals, let us know by going to www dot innovations dot show.

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