We live in the Information Age, a time when essentially an infinite amount of knowledge is at our fingertip. Everything from seeing instantaneous updates about friends on various social networks to finding a ride from on-demand car services like Uber and Lyft and booking last-minute hotel rooms on your phone. And Swifto, a New York City-based dog-walking company, has jumped on this trend with live poop alerts.
Initially, the company started as a dog-walking company that allows owners to schedule walks sporadically, rather than having to commit to a schedule. But once the idea started developing, the company began “looking at what was missing in the dog walking community, which was more transparency and communication, and knowing exactly what’s happening on your walk,” says Mahalah King-Slutzky, the service coordinator at Swifto. “It’s the 21st century, you should be able to know where your dog is.”
So, they set out to own the high-tech dog-walking market. Originally Swifto started out by using GPS tracking for owners to follow their dog’s route on the walk, and from there the service evolved to the point where now, owners also get a text message when the walk starts and ends, notifications when a dog meets other pooches, a photo of the dog emailed at the end of the walk, and of course, live poop alerts.
Swifto operates primarily in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens but is also growing in the Bronx and Staten Island. All dogs are walked individually, unless an owner has more than one dog in their household that they want walked at the same time.
The pricing starts at $20 for a 30-minute walk, provided that these occur at least three times a week at regular intervals. Sporadic walks carry an extra $15 charge, and Swifto is in the process of developing an app to make the company even more on-demand, similar to Uber.
King-Slutzky acknowledges that other dog walking companies have started to catch up from a technology perspective, but those companies’ tracking services tend to be outsourced to another company, whereas Swifto started from the beginning building its own system.
The company also has dog lovers at its foundation, as all the employees, including the walkers, have owned at least one dog.
“We all come from a strong pet lover background and then some of us have come from tech, some from various design fields, and we all have a pretty strong business sense,” says King-Slutzky, which is what brought them to combining their backgrounds into Swifto.
“I get to combine my love for dogs and for pets and come up with ways in a business sense to make things more helpful for owners,” she says, speaking about what she enjoys most about the company. “And I love that there’s a service like ours that exists, because it’s a service that I would want to use and I love that I can help build that.”
While the company has expanded to all five boroughs now, Swifto has ambitious desires to expand even further, to cities such as Boston and Philadelphia and eventually going international. There are no dates yet for this expansion, but over time the company wants to open more branches rather than franchising, as they aim to keep the personal feel of Swifto on a larger scale, all wrapped up in an innovative technological bow.