Kansas City stands out among 30 different DogSpot partner cities for cutting through bureaucracy to help startups grow, said Chelsea Brownridge.
DogSpot — a service that delivers internet-connected, air-conditioned, standalone dog kennels for pet owners to “park” their dogs while, for example, shopping or running errands — teamed with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, through its Innovation Partnership Program earlier in 2018 after meeting Bob Bennett, KC’s chief innovation officer, said Brownridge.
As the New York-based startup rolled out across many other U.S. cities, she recognized the value in working with professionals like Bennett and the city’s IPP effort, Brownridge said.
“[It] really helps companies like ours that are doing ‘first-of-its-kind’ things find their way through a lot of questions and paperwork, and everything else that it takes to do business in any city,” said the cofounder and chief operating officer.
Criteria for the city’s IPP program includes: the ability to support economic development and operations strategies, supporting environment quality efforts with the city, engaging neighborhoods, and improving economic vitality and social equity, according to the city.
DogSpot hopes it will find the right location partners in Kansas City by October, she added.
“The main thing we’re looking for at the moment are the best kinds of locations [for the DogSpot kennels],” Brownridge said. “So if there’s any kind of app or anything we can put out there for the community, just to ask them where do they want to see a little internet-connected, air-conditioned dog houses pop up in their neighborhoods, it helps us to have those local recommendations.”
KC residents can also offer suggestions on the DogSpot site, she added.
The company was founded in early 2015 after Brownridge moved to Brooklyn, she said. The walkable city and open environment prompted her to want to take her dog — and fellow cofounder, Winston — into places prohibiting dogs, she said.
The joy of having a dog is walking around town and going on adventures together, she added.
“It was more times than not that I would just be running a quick errand, jumping into the car very quickly, and [then in to an establishment],” Brownridge said. “Because they don’t allow dogs, Winston just couldn’t fit in the company, which meant he had to stay home — and dogs already spent so much time waiting for their owners to come home. I thought that there should be an easier way to incorporate our dogs into our lives.”
DogSpot rebranded from Dog Parker after expanding into eight other states, said Brownridge, who took the opportunity to rethink the image and feeling the firm wanted to present.
“It’s more about your dog being the center of attention. We’ve made a spot for your dog. And so we decided to take the plunge,” said Brownridge.