What was the scope of their involvement?
I used them as a contractor for the build of the app. The app connects the community one pet at a time. What we found in the marketplace was that there was no single source location that connected the pet community with the current trends of social media and a resource for local meetups.
The app is basically a social platform and a resource for information, articles, etc. We tied in the business community - those who provide pet related services, such as dog walking or horseback riding lessons, too, since those providers likely will not be as successful creating their own app.
We’re kind of like Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp tied together as a complete resource for the pet owner. We originally started with a scope document showing FreshWorks what I wanted to do. I wanted to talk about the scalability of it and build in early programs for revenue streams. FreshWorks was really hands on. They’re an incredible company and easily understood the design and function of what I was trying to create. They didn’t just take orders from me, rather, they actually helped in the creation of the app, the functionality, the user interface and user experience, and in keeping everything extremely modern. Modern designs aren't commonplace in the pet industry.
We initially did a prelaunch on iOS in August 2016. With that, we were able to go to some pet shows and connect with pet owners and pet businesses and get feedback from what they liked and didn’t like about it. After that, we did the full deployment on Android, iOS, and the web.
We also built in some key business features so that when businesses become premium members of the app, there are tools that have been created for them to drive content to the news feed of the local pet community. It’s a very robust solution, all-in-one. You have location services available, and if you don’t want location services active on your phone, then we choose a city hall of the city that you’re in and not your personal address. The reason for this is when the businesses log in or adopt the app, they have a 50-kilometer radius surrounding their store in which to push content to the pet owners in that area.
When you’re looking for products, pet-friendly parks, etc., if you have location services on, you’re going to see what’s happening in that area and the businesses there will push out content or coupons. It’s very active that way.
We had some people doing early stage beta testing, but the full launch and marketing of the app began on April 1st, 2017. FreshWorks is under contract for IT support now. They tweak the app based on the bugs that show up and the feedback from our users.
How did you come to work with FreshWorks Studio?
I initially reached out to FreshWorks in March 2016 through recommendations of a few other people that had either worked with them or heard about them.
How much have you invested with them?
We have spent $250,000–$300,000. We were under contract for the development, bug testing, and launch through a series of milestones and progress payments. It was all broken down into modules for the iOS and Android apps and the web app.
I’m not a big enough company to go out and hire full-time people. It’s a lot cheaper to use FreshWorks. They provide good service.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working together in April 2016 and the work is ongoing.