Our startup, Fetch, is a platform for responsible dog breeders to connect with potential owners. Currently we are in beta, with over 4000 shelter dogs in our system. We recently won Launch Academy’s Pitch Day prize: mentorship, exposure, and a $3000 dollars cash! This seems like the perfect time to reflect on Fetch’s genesis, which started 5 months ago at a different kind of Demo Day.
Our core team came together while working on our Demo Day project at Lighthouse Labs - which is actually the Lighthouse Labs website you’re reading this on. Even as we were presenting that, our team member Joseph was presenting to us his vision for Fetch.
Joseph imagined an app that would make it easy for responsible dog breeders and shelters to make beautiful, authenticated profiles, and interact with potential adopters in real-time. We all agreed it was a cool idea, but at the time it seemed like a bit of a pipe dream - we were fresh to the world of development, and all of us had internships lined up with different companies.
Yet here we are.
What started as a side project added set meetings, meetings became every Wednesday, and every Wednesday became all every day. The allure of the project spoke to what brought us to Lighthouse Labs in the first place - the desire for a major change from our previous life. While our professional backgrounds made it easy to fit in comfortably as developers, we wanted to seize the opportunity to build something special.
We realized that we had 3 of the most important things to making this idea a reality:
We first got serious about pursuing this idea full-time when we entered Launch Academy's Startup Challenge. Rachel had finished her internship at Invoke and Ali had just left his job at . While leaving great companies can be difficult, it was so much easier knowing we could continue to work at Launch Academy: the startup hub had felt like home during our two month time with Lighthouse Labs.
We were fortunate enough to earn a finalist spot, and the support that followed has been incredible. Not only do we enjoy Launch Academy's amazing mentors like Alex Chuang, we also have the added support of the devs and founders at Lighthouse. They gave us permanent space in the student lounge, and are always willing to lend advice. Jeremy and Khurram are always checking in and seeing if they can help in any way. They show us regularly that they care about our success which has only added to our own motivation.
A TRUE TECHNICAL TEAM
It's funny to us - the majority of startups here are comprised of business people in search of developers, and we ended up as a team of developers without 'business' people. We were pretty excited about this. In fact, our goal was to produce an MVP and ignore business development until we had an app to show the world. However, our mentors advised against this pretty quickly as we got a crash course in lean methodologies.
Since then, we have put more focus on business development with all 3 of us calling breeders, talking to shelters, and hitting the street to promote Fetch. We have signed up more breeders and users than we expected in a short amount of time. More importantly, we are able to get real-time feedback from them that we can immediately incorporate into the app. Developers as biz dev: the ultimate closed loop.
Fetch came from an experience we all shared - the struggle of finding a dog from a trustworthy, ethical source. The current market is extremely fragmented with no central place to get information on adoptions and rescues. We constantly hear horror stories involving puppies with health issues, scammers online, unreliable information, puppy mills, etc. We want to create a single place to meet responsible breeders and shelters - with up to date information, and social features to engage the community and keep it active.
We also realize we're trailblazers in the Lighthouse Labs community. Lots of people, like us, sign up for the bootcamp with big entrepreneurial dreams. As grads of one of the first cohorts, we're the first to have the opportunity to see that dream through to reality and build our own thing. We hope that by succeeding, we can show future LHL students that they have many many options after graduation, including their own startup.
Do you want to follow in Fetch's footsteps? Apply now for our web dev bootcamp!*