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Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Colombian Mywak will expand to Peru and Spain to help dog-owners care for their canine companions

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Contxto – Colombian dog-walking marketplace, Mywak had a solid 2019. It reported a 43 percent growth rate within the last year and in August, it teamed up with Rappi. As a result, the startup plans to expand into Peru and Spain during the second semester of 2020.

Lassie come home!

It’s heartbreaking to be unable to personally take our four-legged friends out for walks. Preferably, the go-to option means delegating the task to someone else. To ease that pain and ensure our dogs are a-okay, Mywak was founded in 2017 to provide a more visible marketplace between dog-owners and walkers.

The cost for services can vary between two to four dollars per hour, depending on the service and type of walker the owner is looking for.

Owners can locate and track their beloved pets as well as stay in constant contact with the dog-walker at all times. Likewise, other monitoring features include overseeing how many times a dog “does its business,” as well as sharing some snapshots of your pooch on its stroll.

The app also allows owners to collect “wakpuntos” or points for every service. When sufficiently accumulated, they can be exchanged on the app’s virtual store.

Pet markets making matches with Latin America

Pet-related startups are popping up throughout Latin America. Most noticeably in the massive pet-loving market of Brazil. According to one study by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), this country is home to over 132 million pets, of which 52.2 million are dogs, 37.9 million are birds and 22.1 million are cats.

So it’s not surprising there are various Brazilian startups for animals. For example, DogHero is gaining traction after the recent expansion of its pet-sitting services. While e-commerce site Zee.Dog is providing last-mile deliveries in pet goods with Zee.Now.

But this industry is also picking up the pace in Colombia. As just a few weeks ago, Bogotá-based marketplace, LAIKA received an investment from Tinder’s co-founder, Justin Mateen.

A problem persists

Optimism and pet prosperity aside, something that would certainly be interesting to see more of are more startups that tackle animal abandonment.  

In Mexico, over 500,000 cats and dogs are disowned every year. It’s a growing problem as it’s estimated that 70 percent of all domesticated pets in the country are living on the streets, according to a specialized Mexican veterinary association.

This situation tends to worsen after the holiday season ends. That is when people tend to lose interest in their new furry friends. 

There are initiatives that seek to donate food and resources to shelters and people who care for abandoned animals. However, I couldn’t find a startup specifically dedicated to directly handling this situation.

So if there’s an entrepreneur reading this, and you happen to be an animal-lover, I encourage you to think about this problem and how it can become a business opportunity. 

It might fetch for more than you think.

-ML

Mariana López
My topic darlings are startup management, edtech, and all-things pop culture. J Balvin is Latin America's best reggaetonero and I dare you to convince me otherwise.

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