This week, an expert at the D.C. chapter of the business mentoring nonprofit SCORE offers advice to entrepreneurs who developed a dog walking app.— Dan Beyers

The entrepreneurs

Like many dog-owners in the Washington area, Chris Gonzalez and David Comiskey manage demanding schedules that often make it difficult to care for their dogs. To accommodate their pets’ needs, they would lean on neighbors and friends, make social and professional compromises, or rely on local walking and doggie day-care services.

Throughout the years, it seemed impossible to find a single quality, flexible solution — a problem that ultimately inspired them to start a business.

Barkly was launched to put reliable pet care in your pocket via a smartphone app. During planning, they recruited Jim Camut, Gonzalez’s high school friend, to build the technology.

The challenge

Chris Gonzalez, co-founder

“I was working 9-to-5 and going to graduate school in the evenings. It felt impossible to arrange care for my beagle, Schroeder. Local dog walking companies would only take me as a client if I committed to packages of three-to-five walks a week. I was charged a premium for evening walks and could never arrange a last-minute walk when class went long or when the inevitable traffic jam prevented me from getting home in time.”

David Comiskey, co-founder

“We’re making pet care accessible, affordable, and transparent. We built a network of dedicated pet professionals in neighborhoods throughout the D.C. area and Baltimore who are available in under an hour to walk dogs. We offer customers free meet-and-greets and special lockboxes for house keys enabling on-demand care, and ultimately deliver an elevated customer experience.”