A Different Kind Of Poop Scoop

Olga Kharif

Swifto CEO Mohammed Ullah | Walkers get 60 percent of most fees | French bulldog Duchess Fiona | The dog walker sends real-time reports on poop stops and romps with other dogs

PHOTOGRAPH BY GUS POWELL FOR BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK

While many dog walkers provide owners with extensive reports, New York startup Swifto keeps them updated in real time. Founder Penina First’s app uses geolocation to track the pups on the company’s website, and the walkers send texts with the minutiae of each trip.

Swifto screens its 60-odd walkers with a background check, interviews, and a breed-knowledge test. Once hired, they take a three-hour training course and meet pets’ owners

Swifto is trying to raise $10 million to expand into Boston later this year and San Francisco in early 2014. It’s received $2.5 million from investors led by Benchmark Capital

“It gives me peace of mind. I know exactly when and where she’s walked, and that everything is good.”

— Olivia Melikhov, a social media manager whose dog gets a Swifto walk every day

Swifto is still tiny, with just over 300 clients who each spend an average of about $5,200 a year on the service

Customers who use Swifto at least five times a week pay $20 for a 30-minute walk, though less frequent users pay $35 a pop

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