Our client, Compawnion, is a London based startup building an AI powered virtual pet training assistant. This fully autonomous software, which is delivered in the form of a b2c application, provides continuous tailored assistance to owners in training their dogs.  

What makes Compawnion unique is that in addition to providing personalised training regimes, it uses AI and Computer Vision to ensure users are training their dogs the right way. Teaching the owner how to correctly train their dog is a key part of the process and mistakes in training can slow down the dog's progress. The business is in early revenue since a soft launch at Christmas with over 202 clients signed up and paying a monthly subscription (growing daily), validating the business model.

They are seeking three to five investing Non-Executive Directors / Advisors with the following areas of expertise: 

  • Business Strategy/Growth Experts – experience with business strategy/setting up successful businesses.
  • Proven entrepreneurial and technology expertise.
  • Pet care industry experience.
  • B2C Business Development (sales/marketing/contracting).
  • An additional Non Exec with Financial expertise is being sought to act as CFO.

 

It is expected that the roles will require approximately 2 or 3 days per month – potentially more in the early stages. 

The incoming Non-Executive Directors will be encouraged to become shareholders in the Company with an Initial investment of £25k to £50k to align their interests with that of the existing Board Members. 

The company is registered for SEIS & EIS tax relief.

The company forecasts it will be able to pay the incoming Non Execs when the company is cash positive and profitable which is expected to be within 18 months.

Market & Opportunity: 

Problem being solved:

Out of control dogs are a rapidly growing concern, with the UK alone having at least 6.5 million dogs that display undesirable behaviours. However, training a dog to correct its behaviours is an emotional, stressful and expensive experience that owners have never been properly taught to do…..

Emotional:

There are many stigmas associated with owning such a dog, like social isolation due to perceived fear of harm. As such, it primarily becomes an emotional need for owners to address these issues in their dogs.

Stressful:

It is a lengthy/ tedious process and takes at least six months to one year. Since the journey is going to be a nonlinear one with many ups and downs, it can be quite stressful.

Expensive:

The average price of hiring a certified dog behaviourist is £600 in the UK.

Lack of Knowledge:

Owners have never had the training themselves to know how to behave towards a dog when trying to address behavioural issues. This often compounds the problem making the owner frustrated and leading to poor results with the dog.

The Solution: How is the client addressing this issue?

By building a first of its kind digital ecosystem dedicated for owners of dogs with behavioural issues that provides: 

  • Customized expert training programmes paired with a gamified digital tracker that offers a more efficient and engaging training experience.
  • AI based engagement teaching the owner how to train their dog in the right way, leading to a faster solution and longer term results.
  • A supportive community for individuals facing a shared challenge.
  • Directory of dog walkers, dog groomers and dog sitters experienced in handling such dogs.

All at a reduced cost of 80% compared to hiring a certified trainer/ behaviourist.

Progress made so far:

  • A soft launch in December 2023 has led to 202 paying customers based on a monthly subscription model. A planned digital marketing campaign has been launched to see these numbers increase exponentially.
  • LOI for endorsement by ADCH (Association of Dogs and Cats Home) - a representative organisation with 170+ animal rescue homes and dog shelters as its registered members.
  • Commercial pilot test with Oak Tree Animal Charity, an established animal rescue home is currently underway, as part of exploring a B2B partnership.

 

Team:

The founding team consists of Anvith Varanasi, who brings together a solid blend of theoretical understanding and practical entrepreneurial know-how and Pine Irwin, a leading light in the dog training world and a certified dog trainer and behaviourist with over 15 years of experience.

Applying for the role:

Candidates who feel they meet the above criteria are invited to apply having first registered their CV with First Flight Non-Executive Directors (if they have not already done so – there is no charge) by using our “Apply for Role” tab for role no: 1208 and completing the application form explaining how they match the key criteria we have set out for the role.

Closing date for applications: Thursday, 29th February 2024

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