The purrch Backstory and its Ongoing Mission to Improve the World for Pets

Everything in this world has an origination story, and today we’re telling the tale of purrch, a pet-first app co-founded by Vail Weymann and Ken Herbert. In their pre-purrch lives, Vail was an established investment banker and Ken was a talented developer and designer. Their complementary skill sets and a shared goal to make the world a better place for animals and their humans led to a lightbulb moment.

Like any bright idea, the purrch app required really hard work to turn said idea into a reality. But you know what? The sweat was totally worth it. With help from Vail, we’re diving more into that purrch back story and mission.

purrch: How did you come up with the idea of purrch?

Vail: The idea for purrch emerged soon after our family adopted our dog from the Animal Care Centers (ACC) of New York. She had a lot of challenges and even as an experienced pet owner, I found myself seeking out a community of other owners who could provide guidance based on similar experiences. When I couldn’t find a community that felt right for me and my particular situation, the wheels started turning.

How does the purrch app bring pet parents together?

Believe it or not, the pet community remains woefully fragmented and underrepresented in the digital “social” world, with the technology to service this group yet to evolve beyond that of a simple Facebook group. As such, we saw a huge opportunity to build an affinity platform to unite the pet community in new and exciting ways.   

On purrch, user-contributed content guides how the platform builds communities for our members around shared pet-related passions, interests, and experiences.  This unique approach to connection-building, coupled with a plethora of pet-centric features and functionality, has far-reaching implications and use cases. When you are able to block out the noise and focus exclusively on building an experience that fills a significant gap for a niche audience, the possibilities become endless. 

Do purrch users ever meet up in person?

Well, things are a bit weird during COVID times. However, nurturing in-person relationships among our users is part of our goal. We take the privacy and safety of our users very seriously, but purrch users who choose to share their zip code are able to seek out and connect with others who live in their community.

purrch also helps pets get fostered. How does this work?

My co-founder and I are self-proclaimed pet nerds, and that means that our love for animals goes well-beyond the ones in our personal care. For this reason, we knew purrch needed to have a higher purpose.

When we describe purrch as purpose-driven, this means we’ve spent as much time thinking about how this platform can benefit rescues and shelters as we have spent time creating an experience that’s valuable and unique for the pet community at large. Our rescue and shelter partners have been drawn to purrch for three reasons:

Delivers community by connecting the individuals of a rescue's network to each other and to those who share their same pet-related passions and experiences.

Delivers authenticity by allowing rescues (and their foster network) to uniquely narrate the lives of their companion animals for the benefit of prospective families and sponsors.

Delivers reach by spreading awareness of a rescue's work to a broad audience of like-minded individuals 

 

So far, what has surprised you the most about how pet people are using purrch?

purrch is only at its infancy stage at just a few weeks old, but we’ve already amassed a core group of power users who are eagerly spreading the word and using purrch in all the ways we’ve imagined.

They’re filling purrch with fun, feel-good content, they’re reaching out to the community of users for advice from other pet parents who’ve had similar experiences, and they’re sharing their own advice, favorite services, and product recommendations. It’s been really amazing to see this diverse, enthusiastic community come together and engage in pet-related conversations.

As we continue to grow and expand, we’ll be watching and learning from our users and relying on them to influence where we go next.

How can I sign up for the purrch app?

The purrch app is 100% free and you can download it on the app store. For a weekly blast of warm-and-fuzzies, you can also sign up for our newsletter, The Scoop. And don’t forget to come back to the purrch blog often for advice, fun posts, and heart-warming tales and interviews.

Purrch is powered by a team of ultra-passionate pet peeps, adoption advocates, and fellow pet nerds who believe that animals big and smol make us—and the world—better. We can’t wait to see your heckin’ cute pets, watch your Tails, and build friendships along the way. You can download the Purrch app here