Travel Safer with Your Best Friend
Here in Colorado, there are few mash-ups that can compare to adventuring in the outdoors and bringing your dog along with you. In fact, the prospect of having Spot accompany you up an awesome 14er hike, or to your favorite fishing hole, is one many more people would do if they could safely leave their dog in the car at some point during the trip.
Until now, putting your best friend in the car unattended while you grab a bite to eat, hit the restroom, or run into the local outfitters for a new headlamp, could be dangerous or even deadly to them.
The challenge of keeping your dog safe while you do the things humans do was one our sponsor, William Loopesko, took up several years ago while out with his best buddy, Clovis. Hence, PuppTech was born out of a love for Clovis and his desire to spend more time – safely – with him in the beautiful landscapes of Colorado.
Now, William, Clovis, and PuppTech are about to embark on a crowdfunding campaign to bring their solution to the problem – the PuppComm – to owners everywhere who want more quality time with their dogs.
We caught up with William recently to find out more about him, Clovis, and how things are progressing at PuppTech.
WL: Why did you start PuppTech?
William: I didn’t choose PuppTech it chose me! I never set out to start a pet-technology company. When I finished graduate school and started my life as an adult it was the furthest thing from my mind as a newly-minted geologist who had never owned a dog and had no experience (or much of an interest) in business or technology. I got a dog while I was working as a geologist because I wanted a companion to go hiking in the mountains with, and I could never have imagined that it would lead to this. But as I came up with the idea for PuppTech and started sharing it with other people it grabbed hold of me and refused to let go. I got to the point where I felt like I had no choice but to see it through and figure out what could come of it, and since I wasn’t feeling any attachment to my job it was an easy decision to quit and start working on PuppTech full time.
WL: What made you decide to be an entrepreneur?
William: In my previous life I worked as a geologist but I very quickly figured out that it wasn’t for me. I felt bored, unfulfilled, unchallenged, and I really didn’t like the idea of spending the next 40 years of my life working really hard to make someone else rich. When one of my bosses got laid off through no fault of his own I realized that if I didn’t want to run the risk of getting laid off I had to take my future into my own hands. 14 months later, my startup was getting exciting enough that I quit job to embark into the world of entrepreneurship and I’ve never looked back. It really feels like what I was born to do.
WL: What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
William: This is a cliché but “believe in yourself when no one else will” and be ready to do whatever it takes to make your dreams happen. When I first went out to pitch my startup to professional investors I heard an unending chorus of “Nos”. People thought I was crazy, that it would never work, and that I was stupid for trying (and I heard plenty of things that were worse than that) but I ignored all of them out of my own belief that what I was working on would work out in the end. 16 months after I quit my job and after enduring innumerable rejections we had finally started getting some yeses and it felt like we were on the verge of a deal. We had lead investors from three different “angel groups” who were performing due diligence on our deal and had committed to putting in the money to get us to the next phase. And then, for a number of reasons, the deal fell apart and we were left with nothing other than six months of wasted time. I decided in that moment that if we weren’t going to be able to pay for engineers and software developers to build our product, then I would just have to do it on my own.
So, I taught myself enough circuit board design and soldering, 3D design and printing, and web, iOS and firmware development to be able to put together our first prototype. If I hadn’t believed in myself enough to keep moving forward against all odds, and hadn’t put in the work to build our first generation product myself with no prior experience, then I would have quit a long time ago and gone back to the career I was trying to get away from.
WL: Tell us about the PuppComm and your upcoming crowdfunding campaign?
WL: How about your dog Clovis, what’s his scene?
WL: Are you a wine snob or a casual drinker? What is your favorite wine?
WL: Finally, which cartoon character do you secretly envy and wish you could trade places with???
For more information on PuppTech’s upcoming crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo HERE.