Four Questions For Founders | DogSpot

By New Lab / September 10, 2019

DogSpot co-founders Chelsea Brownridge, Alex Tosti, and Todd Schechter stand next to their smart dog house.

DogSpot builds shared-economy, internet-connected dog houses that sit outside of grocery stores, restaurants, museums, and other places where dogs aren’t allowed. With DogSpot, there is finally a solution that allows cities to be more dog friendly, giving brick and mortar retail a differentiator in a convenience economy, and providing dog owners a chance to spend more time with their best friends.

1. Why did you start DogSpot? Do you remember the moment when you first thought of the idea?

The idea for DogSpot came to me because of an everyday problem I was experiencing at the time living in Brooklyn with my dog, Winston. So many places have “no dogs allowed” signs on the door, and even if I’m going into the store for just a minute, I won’t tie him up outside — it’s too risky. One day in particular I was meeting a friend from out of town to walk about Brooklyn and go to the park — things Winston would have loved to do. But we were going to a cafe she loved and wanted to visit that day, so he had to miss out on the whole day of adventures because of one 30 minute “no dogs allowed” trip. That was the day the problem was acute enough that I started thinking of solutions. 

2. How do you see DogSpot impacting how we live our lives?

With more dogs than children living in cities, it’s inevitable that our cities will need to better accommodate our pets — that means more pet friendly housing, more dog parks, and better infrastructure to keep our pets safe.

3. How have New York and New Lab positively impacted the development of your business?

Well, this is a tough one for us. The NYC administration hasn’t been particularly helpful; in fact they have stood in our way, threatening the viability of our business. That said, New York Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) gave us our first grant money to build the product, the local Chambers of Commerce and Borough President’s offices, and dozens of others including New Lab’s Urban Tech Hub program have championed our business and stood by our side as new legislation is presented to allow solutions like ours back onto the sidewalks of NYC.

4. What do you see as your responsibility to make technology ethical and accessible to all?

We’ve chosen to do several things to lead by example: we don’t share the private data of our members, and as we shift towards more of a B2B model, our hope is to make this a free service for dog owners to use so no one feels their dog’s safety and comfort are out of reach.

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