There are few things more panic-inducing than losing track of a beloved pet. It’s something Payal Singh, the co-founder and CEO of MapleWiz, knows all too well.
Leo, her family’s pooch (who they rescued from a kill shelter in 2019), bolted from the family home one day early-on in the COVID-19 pandemic. He had been looking to play with a dog he saw on the street. She and her husband began searching for him feeling “helpless.” After about 15 minutes they found him, but the incident sparked something greater.
“We learned that over 10 million dogs are either lost or stolen in North America every year,” she notes. She and her husband “already had years of experience in GPS vehicle tracking (with our company YodiYil)” and were “inspired to use our expertise in GPS tracking to develop an innovative, premium GPS tracking solution for pets.”
Thus, YoPets by MapleWiz was born.
The app is one of few global pet tracking solutions that allows people to use 4G/CATM1/NB-IOT technology to monitor their animal’s movements. Once someone purchases and charges a YoPets GPS tracking device, they can put it on their pet’s collar or harness, download the YoPets app and scan a barcode to start using the service. They’ll then receive instant alerts when their pet leaves a safe area; the app will also give a detailed playback history so they can track their pup’s movements.
The company has seen an explosive amount of interest in its product, largely because so many people relied on the companionship of a furry friend to get through the isolation of the pandemic. YoPets launched in June 2021 and quickly became a bestseller on Amazon; it expanded into the U.S. in September.
To accelerate growth, Payal says she tapped into ventureLAB,where she is a current member of the Tech Undivided Program, to help promote the company’s offerings while raising capital. “We are looking forward to gaining brand credibility and marketing support (through the program) so that we can expand to newer markets.”
Her biggest pieces of advice for other entrepreneurs?
“If there is anything the pandemic has taught us, it’s that life is short and if you plan to do something, do not procrastinate… do it now,” she says.
“There will always be roadblocks… but with grit, one can continue to move forward and achieve what they set out to achieve.”
She also says anyone working to start a company should plan for the best- and worst-case scenarios that could impact their business.
“We (at YoPets) never prepared for the good scenario… like what if my product does well and then how do I manage my supply chain to cater to this high demand? That was a mistake. Now, we’re better prepared.”
Lastly, she says, if you start something, it has to be something you truly believe in.
“We exist because our pets matter,” she notes. “I always say, by adopting Leo we probably saved his life, but by bolting, he gave us purpose in ours. Now our mission is to prevent such devastating incidents and help the pet community.”
ventureLAB’s Tech Undivided initiative is creating an inclusive tech ecosystem that increases representation by removing barriers and reducing unconscious bias to give women founders an equitable opportunity to raise capital and generate revenue. Funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, as part of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, Tech Undivided leverages a merit-based, gender-balanced Strategic Mentor Network of entrepreneurs and business experts and a growing network of industry partners, enabling women founders to grow and scale locally, and compete globally.
ventureLAB is a leading global founder community for hardware technology and enterprise software companies in Canada. Located at the heart of Ontario’s innovation corridor in York Region, ventureLAB is part of one of the biggest and most diverse tech communities in Canada. Our initiatives focused on raising capital, talent retention, commercializing technology and IP, and customer acquisition have enabled thousands of companies to create over 4,000 jobs and raise more than $200 million in investment capital. At ventureLAB, we grow globally competitive tech titans that build-to-scale in Canada, for global markets.