Tuesday, 20 September 2016 01:33 By Casey Gilly

When Tech and Pets Collide: BabelBark and the Future of Pet Parenting

It's 2016, and thanks to technology and consumer connectedness, the face of business has changed. We use our Smart Phones to call Uber and Lyft, where we embark on a seamless, easy ride to our destination. We use Amazon Now for grocery delivery, freeing us up to spend time on more meaningful tasks. We customize our furniture, our homes, and our experiences to be the perfect fit for our lifestyles. Our lives are filled with curated choices, shaped by product reviews, peer recommendations, and independent research. 

With the Internet at our fingertips, we have access to more information than ever, forcing businesses to elevate their service to remain viable competition. Independent businesses leverage the market in a meaningful way, catering to consumer trends of preferring unique, individual goods over mass-produced merchandise. And it makes sense--we want the best food, self-care products, and services for ourselves and our families. We want to shop with confidence, knowing that we've made a selection that reflects our values. So why aren't we doing the same for our pets? 

As of 2015, 65% of all households in the United States have a pet as part of their family. With our furry friends sometimes requiring more expensive care than their human counterparts, that means the pet supply industry is positively booming. The American Pet Products Association shows that revenue in the pet supply industry could be $62.75 billion by the end of 2016, showing steady growth over last year's trend, meaning that more people are spending more money on their pets than ever--but are pets truly cared for? 

Any pet parent knows how stressful it can be to find a great vet, or the right food, or the perfect toy. Each pet is so unique, and their needs can't be articulated the way ours can. So why would we chance settling for anything less than the best when it comes to caring for them? It can be overwhelming trying to find the right services, which often leads pet parents to places like Pet Smart or PetCo--easy, one-stop shopping for our complex, individual pets...makes sense, right? Wrong! While the big box places have the basics, can they really help you find specialty food? Or a groomer for a high anxiety pet? Or options besides what are in their four walls? Probably not--and that's where a new service, blending our love of smart technology and pet care, comes into play.

What if finding a vet, communicating your pet's needs, checking in with your pet sitters, and finding the best vendors for pet supplies could all be done in one app? With the same ease of Yelping a restaurant for dinner, a new comprehensive platform called BabelBark can keep you and your pets in sync. Not only does BabelBark streamline keeping track of your pet's health information, but it can actually create a community of support where everyone is focused on their needs. The best part? BabelBark was created and founded by people who love their fur babies just as much as you do--so you know you're going to receive the same sort of quality you expect in all other areas of your life. 

Founder Bill Rebozo is passionate about disrupting the pet product industry, and with good reason. His adopted dog, Doog, was a learning experience that shaped his views on pet parenting. After adopting him, he was satisfied by shopping, grooming, and training Doog at his local pet super store--but something went overlooked. When Doog began limping, Bill found himself in the frustrating spiral of vets who couldn't find anything wrong, until finally a friend referred him to an independent veterinarian. Where the super stores failed, an independent business came through. The vet was able to diagnose Doog's problem and get him back to full health in no time. But it shouldn't have been that hard, and now with BabelBark, it won't be. 

"BabelBark is an open data exchange," Rebozo explained. "The platform generates data like activity history and brand preferences...but also integrates external data, like medical records, nutritional details of dog food, user reviews and information about brand influencers to help everybody make better decisions when it comes to the life of any dog." 

Just like raising a family, it takes a village to ensure our furry friends are well cared for, and the response to BabelBark has been very positive, according to Rebozo. "Pet parents love the ability to monitor and manage their dog's life. Pet businesses are excited about connecting with their customers seamlessly. Veterinarians can now monitor patients beyond the four wall of their clinic. Everybody has something to gain using the platform and by working together the life of each dog is improved."

While some pet parents will prefer the convenience of big box stores, the facts around shopping trends support Rebozo's mission with BabelBark. "We believe regional, independent businesses will always have a significant advantage when it comes to delivering the premium products and services pet parents demand today," he shared. "By empowering these businesses to connect directly with their customers thru the power of a dedicated mobile app, BabelBark will always be able to connect pet parents with the best products and services in any region." 

"We've only just began building tools for veterinarians," Rebozo continued, "but we plan to support the 25k independent veterinarians that are competing with corporate giants that offer convenience but lack the personal touch smaller, regional providers offer. These pet parents wouldn't consider taking their human children to a pediatrician located in a Walmart...they treat their pets the same way."

We track our activity levels, our diets, our water consumption, and stay connected to our friends to help them build accountability, and our pets deserve no less. Rebozo and Team BabelBark are inspiring some much needed innovation in the pet care industry--and this is just the beginning! If you're interested in learning more, visit https://babelbark.com/, where you can check out the app, tools for pet parents, pet businesses, veterinarians and more.