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PMBA Student Launches Mobile Community for Pet Owners
A Bentley MBA student has developed a mobile app he hopes will create a new community for pets and their owners. Diego Alves’s free “GoPetie” connects pet owners so they can schedule pet play dates, find walkers or pet sitting, report a missing pet, and find pets available for adoption, even arrange breeding. It’s available now in the Apple App Store and on GooglePlay.
“I used to work for a software company,” Alves explains. “I also loved pets. My family has pets I’m a pet owner and I know a lot of people who are pet owners, and we always talk about issues we face.
“In the summer of 2015 one of my friends has having a hard time finding other pets to breed nearby. He has a unique breed so it was very hard to find. So then I did some research about the market and I talked to people about ideas, some challenges they face, and what they would like to find on an app or website that would help them take care of their pets and make connections.”
The native of Brazil got his undergraduate degree from Worcester State University, and is finishing up his Professional MBA this spring.
“I wanted to advance my career, and I knew that an MBA would be helpful to be a manager or supervisor,” says Alves. “The job market is so competitive so you have to be ready to have that education. I think it will help my professional goals and also my personal goals.
“The Bentley PMBA is very good for young professionals or if you are working full time because of the evening classes and also the hybrid courses which means you can attend class on campus or online in real time.”
Building a Community for Pet Owners
GoPetie has some features that users of Uber, Tinder or other share economy apps might notice, plus some tweaks aimed specifically at pet owners.
“The app offers a platform where pet owners can meet each other and connect. So the idea is that you can find all the pet owners near you to schedule play dates, members can connect and exchange services such as pet sitting and pet walking for free,” says Alves. “By allowing people to connect and exchange pet services, the app helps owners take care of their pets while creating community and relationships.”
Response to the idea has so far been great, Alves says. He secured $150,000 in capital from investors in Brazil, which he says is the third largest market in the pet industry worldwide, and where the app is scheduled to launch next. Microsoft also partnered with the startup through its Biz Spark Plus program.
“Microsoft has given us $120,000 in cloud services, licensing and support,” Alves explains. “That was really helpful because cloud services are very expensive.”
Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone
“Bentley is a great school especially if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and meet international students,” he says. “It exposes you to cultural differences and also helps build résumé and personal skills. Bentley has very good faculty and career services, I really appreciate all the help from them.”
“I have encountered many students from India, China and other countries and everyone has a different perspective or opinion about how to solve a problem or how to approach any given matter. I think it’s helpful because we can understand how people have different solutions to everything. The interaction is very helpful.”
As far as GoPetie, Alves says the company is expanding marketing to include a series of MBTA ads, and reached out to shelters to offer services there.
“I’m very excited, we have a lot of challenges every day,” says Alves. “There are a lot of late nights but now everything is coming together so it’s very exciting.”
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.