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Pet Sharing for Caring! “It takes a village to raise a pet”

Innovation Summit 2015 AlwaysOn Awardee interview with Alina Gordon,

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Please tell us, what is BriskNow all about and what do you do?

Alina Gordon: Brisknow is a social platform that connects pet owners, service providers and simply pet lovers around the globe into a vibrant, dynamic and loving network. Built on moving away from the traditional pet care business model, pet owners’ needs, and pet lovers desire to have the opportunity to borrow the animals they are passionate about without becoming a pet sitter. Brisk provides an innovative solution that improves quality of pet care, and most importantly, makes pets lives better. The more Briskers join its community – the stronger it becomes!

Brisk was founded by me, Alina Gordon, pet owner and world traveler who rescued and cared for many pets. I experienced firsthand the difficulties of locating reliable pet care service providers, selecting the right food, choosing the best parks and making sure my four legged friends live long and happy lives.

You received an award at AlwaysOn. Tell us why.

Gordon: For our app, BriskNow, that allows pet owners to lend out their pets when they are going out of town or need extra support during the day. Brisknow borrowers who can then accept the lenders offer and walk, run, and watch the pets for the needed and agreed time frame without any exchange of money. A platform that provides the insurance, ID verification, and tracking capability and connects pet lovers.

Who is your target audience and how do you intend to reach them?

Gordon: Our target audience is anyone from a 13-year-old child who is eager to have a pet, to single working professionals in their 20s to 40s, couples with allergies, pet owners with injuries, and elderly who would love a companion on their walk but not necessarily a full time pet.

We are starting out with families with kids and single working professionals and we are approaching them in pet friendly bars, social media, PR, as well partnerships with local rescues and shelters. Our intend is to build a community to help any military men and woman who are getting deployed and might have a pet that needs to be fostered until they return, instead of them surrendering them into shelters.

Our biggest challenge is changing the mindset around PET Sharing, as people right away think it is about sharing their family members, instead of seeing it as sharing when they need and require the help. Our model is very new as we are utilizing the on-demand marketplace without the motivation of earning an income. We would not charge or pay anyone for borrowing and lending. Borrowers or pet lovers would pay the $3/month and pet owners $10/month, which would help cover our costs and help us grow. We really want to build a community that would support and love being a part of something that gives back and supports a change in how we see pet ownership and community support.

I would be curious to hear any general thoughts you have on market trends…

Gordon: In recent years, on-demand market place has paved the way to infinite number of goods, services, and assets that can be exchanged for extra income. I believe we have not concentrated on how it may be utilized for a greater humanity. I mean coming together to help each other out, weather its with pets, or knowledge, where both parties, supply and demand, would benefit from the exchange without the motivation of monetary gain. Growing up in Ukraine, this was the norm. Your next-door neighbors helped raise your kids, have dinners together, and lend or borrow anything without a prior arrangement. I believe now is the perfect time to expand on our definition of on-demand marketplaces to more than just extra income and go towards how can we do something greater in order to bring value beyond the monetary gain or convenience of a click of a button.  

What is the viral aspect of your product?

Gordon: The cuteness of pets cannot be beat! Pet’s provide the unconditional love that every single business man and woman crave in todays fast paced environment. Love combined with the ease of and contribution into community, especially our troops that are serving the country, will be hard to pass on given the opportunity.

How will you make money? What’s the business model?

Gordon: We will charge a nominal fee, $10/month for pet owners, and $3/month for pet borrowers in order to cover costs and sustain our growth globally. We want to make sure anyone and everyone can afford to be a part of a community where security and safety will be our priority, and love or pets our motivation.

Who are your competitors?

Gordon: We would be first in the US. There is a company in UK that is doing a similar model, however they are only in UK and have not expanded. They also only focus on dogs, where we are including all pets.

How do you differentiate from your competitors?

Gordon: While we are the alternative to pet sitting, we cannot guarantee that someone will borrow your pet at the exact time and duration pet owners may need. Therefore, we can be complimentary to the likes of rover and dogvacay.

How does your technology differentiate from the competition and can you elaborate on the different technology deployed?

Gordon: Brisknow app is a social platform much like the rest. Where we differentiate is our partnerships with the military, local rescue groups, elderly homes, and hospitals. We are also first to address the 75% of pet owners that currently use their family, friends, and neighbors to lend out their pets without any technology piece or the grasp of a larger market space.

What business or technology could yours disrupt?

Gordon: I believe with building the BRISK community, we could disrupt the $4.8 billion dollar pet sitting business of US alone.

Who founded the company, when? What can you tell me about the story of the company's founding?

Gordon: I founded the company, officially on November 25, 2014. Unofficially in January 2014.  Brisk is founded on the need and frustration of my own. Being a pet owner and world traveler who rescued and cared for many pets, I experienced firsthand the difficulties of locating reliable pet care service providers, that I could afford, and would love my pets as much as I did. I always reverted to my friends for favors, and was lucky to have a mom nearby, which allowed for my global MBA, as well as a demanding career. I also realized all of my friends with pets did the same, along with a few pet lovers that volunteered on regular basis. It clicked when I couldn’t find anyone to watch my 3 cats and 4 dogs at the time when I wanted my mom to travel with me to Hong Kong and London for my graduation in June 2014. I decided to change it and create something I would use and would be proud to have my friends with pets have access to while making life easier for pet owners, improving the care of pets, and building a strong community around the world.

What is your distribution model? How to become a BriskNow pet owner?

Gordon: Brisknow is in apple and android play stores and we are happy to get any feedback and are always looking for the next brisker to join the community and team!

What’s next on your product roadmap?

Gordon: We are working on improving the app while also looking for angels that would believe and support the vision and passion we have! We are launching in LA and SF by September. We are aiming at being nationwide by the end of the year!

Are you targeting a first VC round? If yes when and what will you use the funds for? How much money is being sought?

Gordon: We are looking for $500k in seed round to build a team, further develop the app, and support the operational/security costs of the BRISK community.

What else would you like to add?

Gordon:

Recent statistics show that only 25% of pet owners can afford to or trust using kennels or pet walking services.  Fears of Kennel Cough, pet anxiety due to close quarters with other animals, or mismatched pet sitters are a thing of the past with Brisk.  From background checks to full coverage insurance, pets have never been safer while the owner is away. 

In the past year, the U.S. spent $58.51 billion in the pet industry, averaging around $1,300-$1,600 a year for one pet.  For most pet lovers, the financial burden is too great to get a pet or shelters become over run with animals that can no longer be cared for.  Brisk takes the financial stress and risk out of the equation and allows pet lovers to have the pet experience.

There are 3500 shelters in the US. Seven to eight million pets enter them every year. Three to four healthy dogs and cats are euthanized every year because they cannot be adopted out, 70% of which are pure breeds. In a country of 300 million, BRISK aims to eradicate that number.  Collaborating with rescues/shelters, inviting pet lovers to join our platform, and making it easier to own a pet, BRISK community will change the world and really make it a better place for humanity and animals alike!

Partnerships, collaborations or affiliations: We are collaborating with organization such as Dogs on Deployment, The Animal Pad, It’s the Pits, and other rescues.

Market size being pursued: There are 201 million pet owners in the US alone!

Who are the likely competitors, direct or indirect? Dogvacay, Rover, Borrowmydoggy, Zyngy, all targeting the 25% market segment of the pet owners that can afford or trust pet sitting services.

Is the company profitable? Not yet, we just launched.

Thank you for your time!

Please follow us on Twitter @BriskNow

 

More Stories By Xenia von Wedel

Xenia von Wedel is a Tech blogger and Enterprise Media Consultant in Mountain View, serving clients in a variety of industries worldwide. She is focused on thought leadership content creation and syndication, media outreach and strategy. She mainly writes about Enterprise, B2B solutions, social media and open source software, but throws the occasional oddball into the mix. Buy her a coffee if you like her article: http://xeniar.tip.me