Interview with Woof co-founder David Elsonbaty
Iâ€™m David Elsonbaty one of the technical co-founders here at Woof (@mydogwoofs). Iâ€™m a third year computer science student at McMaster University. I have a huge passion for iOS development and love keeping up with new innovations and building cool things.
What is Woof?
We call Woof â€˜a dog lovers second best friendâ€™. Woofâ€™s free mobile app offers many features that apply to different types of dog parents; from photo sharing, to walk tracking and even seeing nearby dog parks – Woof does it all and more!
Why did you decide to make Woof?
I simply love dogs since I was a little kid, Iâ€™ve had Dexter (A crazy loving labrador retriever) for a year now. Iâ€™ve have worked with Adrian Domanico (Developer/Co-Founder) before in the past as research assistants at McMaster University, and we both met Dan Seider (Biz-Dev/Co-Founder) at the Queenâ€™s Startup Summit last year. We all knew that weâ€™re gonna be working together on something big, just werenâ€™t sure what. A few days later after the competition, Dan introduced Woof to us, me and Adrian fell in love with the idea and we all havenâ€™t been able to stop working on it since.
How does the walk tracking feature of the app work?
The walk tracking feature of the app uses minimal cellular data to find your location, it provides live information such as distance, and time elapsed. During your walk you can mark your dogâ€™s territory, browse through the map to see nearby dog parks, and see other dogsâ€™ territories around you.
What sort of social features have you included?
When you first open Woof you enter the trending news feed, where you will see recent popular dog photos. You are able to like them and will soon be able to comment too. Once you get to your profile, you are able to find dogs that are nearby and follow them or search for fellow canine friends. When your are taking your dog for a walk, as long as you are tracking it – you are able to mark where your best friend does his business. But wait, thereâ€™s more! When another Woofer opens the map and clicks on your dogâ€™s territory, youâ€™ll be notified that it has been sniffed!
Have you had any challenges developing Woof?
Weâ€™ve definitely ran into many challenges along the way, weâ€™ve had a hard time deciding what features to cut from our MVP. Everything took longer than anticipated, weâ€™ve also had a hard time creating our Woof Apple Account due to the lengthy downtime after the Appleâ€™s hack. However, to our surprise we have managed to build Woof with a budget of under $10,000 and buckets full of sweat equity.
How do you plan on marketing Woof?
We have put together a list of Facebook related dog pages with large followings and have been reaching out requesting to get their help with our launch. A fair amount of them have agreed to share Woof on their pages at our launch and we have actually developed some close relationships with a few as we have been very open to returning the favour where possible.
What’s your monetization plan for Woof?
As it is part of our mission to connect dog parents with their local dog communities it only makes sense for us to keep the app free, and we plan to keep it that way indefinitely. We are looking into creating a smart dog collar, but will do this once we reach scale.
How can readers get Woof?
Editor’s Note: The app is now available on iOS devices…
Weâ€™ve just recently submitted Woof to the App Store for approval, readers can check out our website at www.woof.co, enter their email and we will notify them once Woof is on the App Store sometime next week.
What are your future plans for Woof?
We will be continuously working on adding new features to the app – many based on popular demand as well as porting Woof over to android. Weâ€™ve developed a partnership with SPCA and will soon be integrating their Meet Your Match program in our app. This will allow anyone in North America to find dogs that are up for adoption nearby; by filling out a short questionnaire, you can be matched with dogs that suit your lifestyle and personality – itâ€™s like eHarmony for dogs.
How can the community in McMaster and Hamilton help you make Woof a success?
Well we simply couldnâ€™t thank you enough for writing about us, that on its own will help us a lot! If readers could download the app, share it with friends, and send us feedback that would definitely be very helpful to making Woof a success.
Have your time and experiences at McMaster helped you to get Woof off the ground?
I worked as a research assistant during the summer of 2012 with Dr. Anand (Associate Professor, Computing and Software) at McMaster University. This introduced me to the world of iOS development, without which I probably wouldnâ€™t have had the experience to develop something like Woof. Iâ€™ve also fast tracked a couple of third year courses last year which were beneficial to the development of Woof.