A dog’s life in the city can be a lonely one but a QUT business student has come up with a unique solution – a free match-making app for doggy playdates.
PatchPets is the creation of 21-year-old Josh Fritz and has proven a runaway global success since its launch in late May.
“My goal was to have 700 users within the first four weeks, but by the six-week mark we were at 4500 users in Australia, the United States, Japan and the UK,” said Josh, who has deferred his QUT accounting studies this semester to concentrate on the app.
“Now I am about to launch phase two of the PatchPets app, which will evolve into an immersive social media platform and give businesses the opportunity to engage dog parents.”
Josh was inspired to create his app after moving from his home town of Moranbah to Brisbane two years ago to study at QUT. Missing his two beloved family dogs he adopted Quincy, a cavoodle, as the perfect companion for apartment living.
“Every day I would go to the local dog park at Kangaroo Point and the idea for PatchPets began to take shape. Dogs have a huge presence on Instagram and Facebook so the app is a natural progression,” said Josh, who has partnered with the RSPCA Queensland.
“A dog park is a confined space where people are generally friendly to each other because of their dogs. Pets, especially dogs, bring people together. I have made so many friends from the dog park and we now socialise outside of that.
“I did a lot of market research worldwide and did not see anything quite like my concept. I wanted the focus to be completely on the dogs so all the profiles are of them.
“Dogs need socialisation, and my dog Quincy has absolutely been much happier since she has had playmates to run around with on a regular basis.
“It’s especially important for puppies to interact with other dogs. Socialisation enhances their development, adaptability to different environments and how they adjust to other dogs and people.
“My vision is to make everywhere more accepting of dogs; to make cities more dog-friendly. It’s an added bonus that it will also help people who own those dogs feel less socially isolated, especially if, like me, they have moved to a new place.”
As well as profiles of dogs and the opportunity for users to connect for playdates, PatchPets also offers a guide to dog parks, dog-friendly cafes and more.
“Studying accounting at QUT has really helped me become savvier about starting and running a business,” Josh said.
“It also helps that my parents have run a business for many years but at QUT my course work on job costing and process costing, and the difference between them, has really given me an understanding of how to create a workable business model.
“I was recently asked to host the Business and Innovation session at the Singapore Pet Expo in October, which is exciting and extremely nerve-racking. I will definitely be drawing on presentation skills that I have developed during my study.
“A lot of people told me PatchPets would become a full-time job for me and they were right. The interest is phenomenal. Clearly there is a need for it. Now I am being asked to create something similar for cats … I am not sure about that, maybe in the future.”