We had the good fortune of connecting with Eliza Hirvensalo, Co-founder of Dogo, a dog training app. Shared below is our conversation.

Hi Eliza Hirvensalo, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
It all started when Tadas and Rasa, partners in life and co-founders of the Dogo App, adopted their dog Ūdra from the shelter. She was such a cute, small devil and they decided to try out a dog training school. Very quickly they understood two things; Ūdra does not enjoy the company of other dogs during training and Ūdra is extremely smart and loves training! She learned everything very quickly, enjoyed the attention, the treats, and all of the quality time together. They decided to continue her training at home and started looking for tools that could help them with that. The couple couldn’t find anything better than books or YouTube videos that were impersonalized and thus they were inspired to fix that. The idea of inventing the first gamified mobile app for dog parents was born! Everyone loves their furry friends but smartphones are big attention thieves and they wanted to change that by creating Dogo – my dog’s favorite app.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
When users download the app, we ask them to enter information about their goals, what their dogs know and struggle with. We then generate and personalize the training plan that is based on positive reinforcement and clicker methodology. Everyday, users have lessons that are separated into three parts; theory, exercise for dogs and activities to do together with the dog. Once users learn a trick or think that they know the exercise well, they can then take an exam. Next, pawrents will film their dog demonstrating the trick, send it to our dog trainers and in 24 hours we will send it back if they passed. We’ll also add additional tips and suggestions on what they could do to improve. Our biggest differentiators from competitors are amazing UI/UX and customer success. We are dedicated to finding a personalized solution to our customer’s needs.

Dogo was definitely not an overnight success. The idea of Dogo was born in 2013 but we began working on it around 2016. At that time, it was a part-time focus. Our team dedicated long weekend hours. During the first few months after the launch, not much happened. People didn’t know about Dogo, but yet we kept going as we had the determination to succeed. After developing the product with love and great design, we finally got noticed by Apple and were featured for the first time in Europe and then in the US. Now, we’ve been featured over 180 times as the “App of The Day”. We are extremely grateful that such a validation from users and our partners has definitely given us a great head-start.

In terms of lessons, we’ve learned to prioritize internalization and growth from day one. If you build your product for at least two languages, you will already have a great system in place for growth later. Building relationships with your partners like Apple and Google, are key for your success and traction. Hiring is a long-term game. Make sure to hire colleagues that are smarter and more skilled than you. Take time in caring for your team, investing into their growth and giving regular feedback.

Dogo is created by dog parents and for dog parents. Our purpose is to educate, motivate and help dog parents around the world to strengthen the bond between their best friends. We are innovative and fast in our execution. Our company lives by the culture of experimentation and trying out new things. We are not afraid to challenge the status quo.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Dogo Dog Trainer, Sylvia Wess, weighed in on this question about planning your next LA trip and here’s what she had to say!

Visiting Los Angeles with your best friend:

Spend the day on the west side!
Check out the Santa Monica Pier, it’s a dog friendly visit with on-leash dogs allowed to check out the pier.

Grab a room at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
This pet friendly hotel even has custom treats and in-room dog bowls to really spoil your four legged friend.

Don’t miss out on a visit to Dog People, LA’s exclusive dog social club! A dog park experience for the bougie baby in your life.

Hit Abbot Kinney Blvd., an eclectic scene near Venice beach for unique finds and taste of Venice, Italy in Southern California.

Take a break to take in some of LA’s best hikes. Take a mid week pit stop at Kenneth Hahn recreation park. From a gorgeous Japanese Garden to lively duck ponds, you’re sure to find a scenic view to hike around and stop to enjoy a picnic with your pet.

Stop for iconic photos at the La Brea Tar pits. The lamp installation can be seen on social media accounts across the world and the Tar Pits are a real piece of Dino History.

Next up, you and your four-legged bestie should explore downtown. Angel City Brewery has a great dog-friendly footprint right in the Burgeoning Arts District. Great drinks, food and an art scene to take in.

Spend the night downtown at the pet-friendly, Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles. Take in the city or spend a night in by taking advantage of the Hotel’s “Do Area”.

Explore some of the City’s history by visiting the Los Angeles Old Zoo. Located in one of the City’s largest parks, Griffith Park, you can get cagey with your pup and explore many nearby mountain trails.

Catch a Dodger game! If you’re lucky, you can plan your visit around a “Pups at the Park” event.

Take a ride on the western side with a trail ride to the Hollywood sign leaving from the Sunset Ranch.

Pop up to the NOHO Arts District to enjoy a meal with your pooch at Fat Dog Café. The dog themed décor and huge patio at this gastro pub will keep you and your dog satiated and satisfied.

Finally, make sure you take a day to visit Universal Studios theme park. Check out the studio backlot and get in on all the Hollywood action. You never know who might be on set filming your favorite show.

Sylvia Wes

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Definitely! I would like to shoutout to our very first investors, such as APX, who invested in Dogo back in 2018 and made us “investor-ready”. Also another thank you goes to our first two angel investors, Marius Jeuck and Mortiz Hohl. They believed in us and invested early on, and kept introducing us to the great angel network and group we have today. Thank you to our new lead investors, Change Ventures and Monkfish!

Website: https://dogo.app/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dogoapp/?hl=en

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/dogo-app/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dogoTrain/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.