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Under The Hood: Shaina from Dogdrop

A discussion with Shaina, founder of Dogdrop: Franchise of Dog Daycares

Hi Shaina! Take me back to the beginnings of Dogdrop. When was that? And what’s the growth been like since then? 

We started in 2019. We were incubated via a venture fund and studio in LA called ‘Science’. And our main goal was to build the best dog daycare ever: convenient footprints, super high quality, with our own tech powering a consistent experience in every location. 

We wanted to create a place where anyone can drop their dog off for a half-hour or all-day. Your dog deserves to socialize, get mental stimulation and exercise, and Dogdrop daycares provide that. 

We launched our first dog daycare location in January, 2020. But because everyone was home that year, many still wanted to get their dogs out for an hour or two. We had a really strong proof of concept that folks were excited and willing to pay to get their dog out of the house for quick stops to socailize and exercise. 

And before we decided to expand further, we launched our line of D2C dog care products (waste bags etc) and that’s probably when you heard of us first because we had a greater reach beyond our Los Angeles location. 

How successful were you in your D2C endeavors? 

I lived and worked in China for about 4 years before starting Dogdrop. So anything with manufacturing is actually a lot more in my core competency rather than opening physical retail locations. And considering many physical retailers have their own branded merch to sell on-site, I felt it made sense for us to do the same - while selling them online as well. 
I chose to focus on selling daily dog essentials - stuff dog parents actually need. We wanted to sell the non-sexy stuff that you use daily (dog waste bags, paw wipes etc). But we've always put a higher priority and more attention into building the best dog daycare experience with our physical footprint. 

Ok - let’s chat about that then: How do you grow footprint? 

In 2021, we started digging into different growth models and franchising made the most sense strategically.  Franchising allows us to work with high caliber operators and for us to focus on what we do best: systems/ops, marketing, brand, tech. We spent most of the year laying the foundation: building our tech platform, optimzing operations,  processes, and systems and completing legal documents. Then in 2022, we launched our franchise offering and in March 2022, we found our first franchisee in the Denver market and sold our first multi-unit franchise (5 units). She's actually just opening her first location in the coming weeks. 

And since then we've been heads down on investing in our franchise architecture and support system and currently have 10+ units under development. 

What does a franchisee get when they open up a Dogdrop?

To put it simply - they get a business in a box. At Dogdrop, we look at franchising differently as a digital native and venture backed start up. They get a beautiful space with real brand value (we have the same architect and design team behind Blue Bottle Coffee) + Streamlined operations with a model that’s proven +Access to all of our owned technology that powers the daycare + and access to our branded D2C products too. We are an extension of their team and help support initial and ongoing training, marketing, ops, and more. 

What were the pieces you really honed in on between opening your own store in 2019 to your first franchisee in 2023? 

A lot of it goes back to training and execution. At the core, Dogdrop offers a human service to dogs and their parents. So we had to train humans to deliver the standard and care that we expect at Dogdrop. Then, we had to train humans to train more humans and make sure it was scalable. 

That's really what's taken a bit of time. We needed our systems to be repeatable (activities, daily programming, mental stimulation ,cleaning, hygiene and everything in between). That's what we've been working on alongside finding ways to utilize our technology to reduce human error and time that could be better spent with our dog members. 

Awesome. Any broader trends you’re seeing in the franchising space? 

Well we did a ton of research before going into Dogdrop. I tried to speak to everyone in the franchising space and truly had a franchise 101 in the last like 24-36 months. And what we’ve come up with is a modern take on an old model. 

We raised our first venture dollars in early 2019 from Science, who is always ahead of the curve on trends. Franchising just makes sense. When we talked to other investors they shunned the franchise model. Now with the current markets, the past 12-18 venture investors have been very keen on getting in on franchising. It’s a bit funny to watch. 

Forerunner wrote a great piece on the topic of “DNF”s (‘Digitally Native Franchises’) which we fall into. I also call it BaaS - business as a service, which you can read about more here by the Wolf of Franchises. And so we've been getting a ton of venture fund interest since then as the trend goes increasingly mainstream. 

What we’re also seeing that’s interesting is prospective franchisee interest - these folks are leaving big tech, venture funds, private equity to go into business for themselves via franchising. We attract a lot of these prospects due to our compelling offering:  strong tech platform, brand, and growing pet care market. 

Have you fundraised since being incubated by Science?

Yes. We have great investors such as Mars PetCare, CEO of Wag!, Fuel Capital, and more. Lots of folks from the petcare industry and consumer. 

Last question: What’s your key to success on Dogdrop? 

Our team has done a really good job of being consistent and doing what we say we're gonna do. That’s true across everything we do: from our products, to our physical daycares and our daycare services. And when we raise money, we explain that we need Y to do X and then we do just that. That’s been our key. 

Thank you Shaina! Go you and go Dogdrop!

Find Dogdrop at: 


or connect with Shaina directly on Twitter