Hamilton-based dog lover's app reaches 20k users

Woof, a new social networking app for dog owners created in Hamilton, is connecting lovers of four-legged friends locally and around the world.

Just days after David Elsonbaty and Adrian Domanico launched their new app, their server crashed.

It turns out people worldwide just couldn’t wait to get their hands on the latest, innovative way to share photos and information about their pooch with fellow dog-lovers.

Woof, a social networking app for dog owners, launched Oct. 25 and was featured on the iTunes store’s best new app list.

“We were up until 4 a.m. sending emails apologizing and getting the servers back up and running,” Elsonbaty, a third-year McMaster University computer science student, said.

Woof allows dog-lovers to create profiles for their dogs, snap photos to share with fellow users and has maps to nearby dog parks. A dog can even “mark their territory” digitally – a blue dot pops up on a map to show where the dog frequents and helps them connect with other dogs in the area.

The app also helps keep your best friend on four legs healthy. It tracks how many times and for how long your dog walks.

“It’s more than Instagram for dogs,” Domanico said, a final year McMaster University computer science student. “We want to start bringing the local dog community together and bring you closer to your dog.”

The app is growing at a rapid rate. As of the second week of November, Woof has nearly 20,000 users worldwide and 85,000 shared images.

“Dog owners are crazy about their dogs,” Elsonbaty said. His dog Dexter is a 15 month-old Labrador retriever.

The highest percentage of Woof-ers are in the U.S. with over 50 per cent, followed by Canada, China, Great Britain and Mexico.

It’s quite possibly the most popular smartphone application to come out of Hamilton.

Elsonbaty was kicking around the idea of an app to connect dog owners when he and Domanico attended a Start-Up weekend at Queen’s University. There, the pair met University of Guelph business student Dan Seider.

“Dan found his dog Chuck sniffing a territory during a walk,” Elsonbaty said. “Dan wanted to know what he was sniffing and wanted to visualize that data.”

That was in March of this year. The trio worked on the app throughout the summer, Elsonbaty and Dominico coding, Seider on the business and marketing side.

Even just a few weeks into Woof’s launch, the team already made several updates and is finalizing details on new features – messaging other dog owners and profiles for multiple dogs, Domanico said.

The developers want the app to remain free, but the team has ideas to monetize their work in the future.

“Lost dogs are a big problem,” Domanico said. “We could offer a GPS collar... where you could see your dog on your phone at all times.”

That’s just one of a few ideas, but right now, they’re not so worried about the money.

“We just want to build a really good community,” Domanico said.


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