This 28-year-old ‘pawtners’ with animal shelters to streamline pet adoption course of in S’pore


To undertake a pet in Singapore, the method is often one thing like this: the adopter first chooses a pet, offers their particulars to the shelter, visits the pet, undergoes home checks by the shelter employees, and fills in additional varieties and paperwork earlier than they’re lastly capable of undertake the pet. 

If the adopter finds just a few pets they’re considering on the similar time, this complete course of is repeated for each shelter, which may be time-consuming, inefficient and repetitive. 

These have been the principle issues Haley Ong personally confronted when she was seeking to undertake a cat again in October 2020.

“I used to be recognized with scientific melancholy and needed to undertake a cat for firm. I attain[ed] out to shelter group[s] however skilled a repetitive, handbook screening and non-efficient processes,” she remembers. 

Though she managed to search out her lifetime companion, her exasperation with the adoption course of pushed her to analysis extra on the pet adoption trade in Southeast Asia, the place she realised that nobody was making use of digitisation for pet acquisition. 

This prompted her to launch Pawtner — a one-stop digital pet adoption platform — in July final yr.

It’s the first good platform that automates companies required for all elements of pet possession, making it an efficient and viable answer for shelters, adopters, and the pet group.

We’re the primary platform that provides a standardised on-line operation system that entails a number of events, whereas additionally maximising enterprise contact factors alongside all of the phases of the person’s pet possession journey.

– Haley Ong, founder and CEO of Pawtner

The love for pets runs within the household

Haley’s mother and father are each lively animal rescuers and again in her Penang hometown, she would carefully work with pets.

They constructed a storage for avenue animals to remain, and the household typically fed and took care of their well being wants. It’s no shock that Haley grew up loving animals, and is very supportive of the “undertake, don’t store” motion, having seen for herself the influence one could make in an animal’s life.  

Haley Ong, founder and CEO of Pawtner / Picture credit score: Pawtner

That was why she insisted on adopting a feline companion regardless that her buddies advised shopping for from catteries or pet outlets to keep away from the tiresome and lengthy adoption course of. She knew she needed to be the change she needed to see within the trade by enhancing the adoption course of in efforts to encourage adopting a pet. 

At 19, Haley left Penang to pursue a Bachelors in Psychology in Singapore and in a while in Australia. After commencement, she labored as a breast most cancers researcher on the Nationwide College of Singapore (NUS) for about two years.

She then obtained a Masters in Public Well being in Scotland earlier than coming into the medical tech trade in 2019, the place she took on an entrepreneurial venture aiming to mitigate the uncomfortable side effects of forgetfulness for breast most cancers sufferers by telemedicine.

That was how she first received acquainted with the guy co-founder of Pawtner, who was an skilled in product design. This ex-colleague of hers strongly believed in Haley’s trigger and agreed to establishing Pawtner collectively, and went on to succeed in out to a Microsoft engineer based mostly in Eire, who had a deep experience in product creation, to assist construct the platform.

Serving to to embrace change

Within the early phases of product ideation and growth, Haley shares that the best problem was cultivating a behaviour change in pet shelters — they have been hesitant to come back onboard attributable to doubts and considerations on whether or not Pawtner would find yourself micromanaging their operations. 

Whereas shelter teams agree that the prevailing pet adoption course of is inefficient, they have been reluctant to work along with Pawtner as a result of their employees have been already accustomed to and used to the present course of.

“A few of them would possibly assume we’re creating extra work for them,” she says. Nonetheless, Haley and her group continued to be affected person and impartial, guiding these shelters alongside the method and assuring them that Pawtner solely goals to assist enhance the method. 

To inculcate open-mindedness in direction of adopting Pawtner’s streamlined course of, the Pawtner group needed to conduct intensive market analysis and modify their product as a way to acquire extra assist. Haley provides that “studying by the method and being versatile to [their] clients” are key. 

Ultimately, their closing prototype pitch to a couple shelters in Singapore such because the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and SOSD Singapore led to an awesome constructive reception.

“We persuade[d] shelters by showcasing the pilot take a look at they usually be part of[ed] after seeing the success instances”, Haley stated. 

With reference to funding, Pawtner pitched to a couple angel buyers similar to HE Capital in the course of the preliminary phases, solely to have them stop their operations because of the pandemic when Pawtner was nearly on the final funding spherical. Happily, the folks whom Haley linked with throughout that journey turned out to be very considering Pawtner’s initiative and determined to be Pawtner’s angel investor.  

Regardless of their operations beginning in the course of the top of the pandemic, Haley highlighted that the pandemic fuelled their drive to push Pawtner’s initiative contemplating the rise in pet adoption curiosity ranges in Singapore throughout that interval. 

Based on her, there are over 40 shelters and rescue teams in Singapore, a lot of that are staffed with volunteers and lack sufficient assets. Coupled with the pandemic inflicting a tenfold improve in adoption and foster charges, the operational capabilities of those shelters have been severely stretched. 

“Such a actuality additional evinces the necessity for a digital answer to streamline the pet adoption course of,” burdened Haley.

Addressing ache factors of the adoption system

The same old adoption course of the place particulars between adopter and shelter are exchanged solely after the adopter expresses curiosity within the pet, may end up in futile adoption makes an attempt because of the adopter’s profile not being appropriate for the pet. 

Haley emphasises that shelters, rescuers, and pet service suppliers who need their operations to enhance “should realise that the pet trade is presently tremendous segmented, presenting a gaping potential to scale one’s operations”. Pawtner solves this situation by connecting adopters, a number of shelters and stakeholders by a single platform. 

Pawtner user interface
Pawtner’s person interface / Imade credit score: Pawtner

With Pawtner, shelter employees have to first create an account for themselves, indicating their function (similar to shelter supervisor, operation supervisor, account supervisor and so forth) that determines the features they’ll entry on the platform. Such features vary from having the ability to display adopter profiles to settling adoption charges. 

From there, the shelter employees can go on to create profiles to place up the pets for adoption, keying in particulars like their age, character, housing necessities, or any medical or dietary necessities, which varieties Pawtner’s database. 

We work carefully with registered shelters to supply clear adoption course of[es], [and] standardise eligibility standards as a way to forestall unlawful breeding and rip-off instances which some adopters have reported going through in the event that they get their pets on [the Facebook] platform.

– Haley Ong, founder and CEO of Pawtner

For adopters, the required particulars that shelters require have to be indicated when their profiles are being created. Pawtner then automates the eligibility screening for each adopters and shelters by its algorithm that filters and matches appropriate adopters to pets, enabling both sides to succeed in the related target market. 

The adopter can then run by the pet profiles in a manner just like Tinder, the place a swipe to the best signifies their curiosity in adopting the pet and places them within the queue system. From there, the shelters are capable of collate an inventory of adopter profiles which are within the pet, display them, and speak to them by Pawtner for additional particulars and the scheduling of meet-ups. 

As soon as an adopter is about to undertake the pet, shelters can accumulate, deal with and observe adoption charges by Pawtner. With reference to security, apart from conducting verification of the adopter profiles eligibility, Pawtner additionally tracks the engagement and adoption course of from the begin to the tip, offering a monitoring system and report to hint again if any disputes come up.  

By consolidating pet profiles throughout pet shelters and adopter profiles in a single platform, the beforehand segmented adoption market turns into extra built-in, and can be rid of repetitive processes like rounds of handbook screening and eligibility checks.

Making a group amongst pet lovers

As well as, Pawtner creates and sells personalised meals plans, medical plans and extra underneath the “Care Plan” part that cater particularly to the adopted pet’s medical or dietary necessities (if any) on a month-to-month foundation. 

That is aimed to ease the burden of latest pet homeowners who would in any other case have to spend so much of time researching and testing out varied pet merchandise to go well with their adopted pet.

In order an adopter, I get my animal and in addition the package deal that I want in in the future. I don’t have to do the analysis anymore, it’s like a one-stop info centre.

– Haley Ong, founder and CEO of Pawtner

Collaboration events with Pawtner
Collaboration occasions with Pawtner / Picture credit score: Pawtner

Pawtner additionally forges a group by its social options that additionally makes use of the algorithm matching function. For many who are usually not able to undertake or for individuals who have already adopted and wish to kind their very own group, the social options web page permits them to  point out what they’re on the lookout for, which may vary from pet photoshoots to pet cafes. 

This fashion, pet lovers can simply join with current homeowners and companies for social actions, in the end creating a web-based pet group and ecosystem.

Plans to increase in SEA

Inside a yr of its launch, Pawtner has since expanded to Malaysia, onboarding a complete of greater than 15 canine and cat shelters from Singapore and Malaysia and digitising about 700 pet profiles. 

Notable shelters they’re working with embrace Noah’s Ark Pure Animal Shelter, Overlook Me Not, SOSD and Causes for Animals Singapore (CAS). 

In June this yr, Pawtner additionally launched “Treats for You” to incentivise pet adopters by working with retailers to assist pet adoptions. Primarily, Pawtner works with retailers to supply pet provide reductions to adopters that can be utilized to buy gadgets underneath “Treats for You”.

Haley shares that one such partnership they’ve undertaken sees Shopee providing a S$100 voucher to the pet adopter for each profitable adoption made on Pawtner.

Partnership with Shopee
Partnership with Shopee / Picture credit score: Pawtner

Nonetheless, Haley notes that from a enterprise perspective, speaking with retailers and gaining their assist have been tough as some retailers noticed Pawtner merely as a ‘Tinder platform for pets’, and thus didn’t take their initiative severely.

“However after going by the entire deck, they perceive that we’re making a linked group fairly than only a enjoyable, matching-app,” she provides.

Different efforts they’ve achieved to assist the pet adoption panorama embrace the launch of their NFT venture in collaboration with Wildpaws NFT to assist shelters the place the income from the gross sales is donated again to shelters when folks buy a digital twin. 

wildpaws nft
Wildpaws NFT / Picture credit score: Pawtner

As for Pawtner’s future enterprise plans, Haley plans to increase Pawtner’s attain to the broader Southeast Asia market inside the subsequent 5 to 10 years, main the formation of a pet ecosystem in efforts to extend the charges of pet adoption and relieve the manpower and useful resource pressure on pet shelters.

Featured Picture Credit score: Pawtner

Additionally learn: On-demand vet care to drugs supply: These siblings constructed a “pawlyclinic” for pets in S’pore

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To undertake a pet in Singapore, the method is often one thing like this: the adopter first chooses a pet, offers their particulars to the shelter, visits the pet, undergoes home checks by the shelter employees, and fills in additional varieties and paperwork earlier than they’re lastly capable of undertake the pet.  If the adopter…