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SOCIAL NETWORKING'S BEST IN SHOW | THE DOG APP & ENVESTORS


We are a nation obsessed with our four legged friends. There are 8.5m dogs in the UK and 25% of all British households have
a member of the family that wags their tail.

‘Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.’ W.R. Purche 

We are a nation obsessed with our four legged friends. There are 8.5m dogs in the UK and 25% of all British households have a member of the family that wags their tail. 

We also love social media; at last count 67% of the population, or 44m Britons use Facebook daily, and with Instagram and YouTube close behind, we are all spending an average of 4 hours a day on our phones. One of the most popular videos on YouTube in 2014, was “Giant Spider Dog”, with an incredible 171m views, pet based videos consistently go viral, (see Fenton) and invariably score well amongst our own friends within our own social feeds. In these increasingly polarised times, the joy of dogs is one thing we can all agree on. 

“A great social network app specifically for dog owners” 

Enter the perfect portal: THEDOGAPP. Self- confessed dog obsessive and technology fan, Bella Ilinskaya (pictured above), realised that there was a need for an app that would meet all an owners’ needs. With an executive MBA in start-up new ventures and digital marketing from the London Business School and an impressive, proven track record in business, Bella acted on her idea. She is no stranger to success; she built the first and most famous TV shopping company in Russia, ‘Shopping from Sofa’ and helped to build and then ran the revered real estate agency Mainstreet, making an annual company commission of over $5m. 

Both were hugely successful, and she gleaned invaluable experience, only strengthening her start-up pedigree. Oh and she’s also the proud owner of Kaiser, a black lab, and Kodi her beloved, if a little ancient, fox terrier. 

‘They are my babies!’ laughs Bella, ‘And I love a challenge. Thanks to them I saw a gap in the market for an exciting new social media app. Something that would allow dog owners to interact with other dog owners: somewhere to share photos, videos, find local dog services, glean advice... the possibilities are endless.” 

The 1st generation app was launched in April 2017 and already has an impressive 25,000 downloads. With 6,000 registered users, 400 special interest groups (created by the members themselves) and 75,000 user sessions, it has proven that dog owners like the concept and are regularly using the app. It also provides a targeted marketing opportunity for small businesses, such as groomers, pet shops, walking services and breeders. 

“THEDOGAPP will become the ultimate lifestyle app for all dog owners” 

The app capitalises on the proven growth of social media applications that focus specifically on a hobby or passion, such as NextDoor and FishBrain, (an app for anglers that has an astonishing 3m downloads). 

‘People use THEDOGAPP in practical ways, (our biggest group is information about which places in the UK are dog-friendly), or to seek advice so we had a brilliant event recently with a dog behaviourist, who is an ambassador for positive reinforcement. But crucially we offer a sense of community, both virtual and real. With that in mind we organised a huge picnic in Hyde Park which was not only great mingling for the owners, but also a tremendous playdate for the dogs’. 

THEDOGAPP is seeking funds to rapidly build its user base. ‘In terms of smartphone social networks for dogs, the only ones available are in the US, Russia, Italy and South Africa,’ continues Bella, ‘however they are all quite small and do not appear to be actively promoting their app or growing their user base with aggressive marketing. We know that the app that generates the biggest number of users in the shortest time, will dominate the market’. 

Mobile marketing is growing at an astonishing rate: 61% of all time online is now on a mobile, and advertising revenues will match those of the TV advertising market by 2020. With Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin having proven the commercial significance of the social media genre, but the successes of niche social networks, make clear that the trend is heading toward segmentation and the most active networks are those based on echo passion and a specific community of interest. 

Social media makes money from advertising, so niche networking is an advertiser’s ideal choice because they offer a readymade and inherently passionate audience. THEDOGAPP believes that it will be an extremely attractive proposition for the pet industry’s media buyers, which sets a clear strategic path towards exit. 

With the funding in place, THEDOGAPP will become the ultimate lifestyle app for all dog owners, providing multiple services, opportunities, education and above all fun. Like the therapy dogs of the real world, internet pooches are supplying a much-needed diversion from the humorless drudgery that makes up most of the modern social web. Pawfection! 



This post was created on December 7 2017 by Juliet Brine