Dog Furiendly, a travel platform for dog owners has secured the backing of an experienced syndicate of South Wales based angel investors and Angels Invest Wales following a Dragons Den style pitch event for equity business funding.
Dog Furiendly is a free-to-use travel platform, listing dog friendly pubs, cafes, restaurants, shops, accommodation, attractions and events. Dog owners can sign up for their own profile, leave reviews and take part in the community’s regular dog walks and events.
The brainchild of Dog Furiendly is Adele Pember from Blaenau Gwent. Adele was one of 15 ambitious entrepreneurs pitching their businesses to a panel of five angel investors at the PitchIt Valleys event. The panel included Andrew Diplock, a lead investor with Angels Invest Wales. Now with match funding from the Wales Angel Co-investment Fund, he will lead a syndicate of co-investors working with Adele to grow Dog Furiendly into the TripAdvisor of the dog world.
Adele Pember said: “We aim to empower and inspire dog owners to confidently plan the perfect trip with their pooch. Much like TripAdvisor, Dog Furiendly allows dog owners to save their favourite places and leave reviews. We want to change the way dog owners research and plan their adventures by combining search and social together.
“We have been woofing with excitement since the success of the PitchIt Valleys competition. The investment will help us accelerate and scale the business but it's not just about the money for us. The real value is the strategic guidance of our investors and the support that they are now giving us as we focus on becoming top dogs in the global market for travel and adventure.”
Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters, who is responsible for Valleys Taskforce, said: “I saw Adele deliver her pitch and could see why the investor backed the business, and perfectly illustrated why the Valleys Taskforce supported the Pitch It initiative. We are keen to bring practical help to people to set up innovative businesses, and to challenge perceptions about the economy of the valleys.
“The fact seasoned investors like Andrew recognise the talent pool which exists in the area highlights how rich in potential it is. His advice and guidance will elevate Dog Furiendly and help it succeed.”
Lead investor, Andrew Diplock said: “As a lead investor with Angels Invest Wales, I really appreciated just how the Pitch it Valleys competition gave such an amazing opportunity for Valley-born start-ups like Dog Furiendly. As a dog lover, I was completely smitten by the Dog Furiendly business model and my instincts have been proven correct by the way in which Adele and the team have shown great enthusiasm, energy and responded with great agility during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Rather than press pause during lockdown, Adele has worked tirelessly to strengthen the brand in the dog owner community including a virtual dog show that reached 1.3 million people, attracted over 3000 entries and raised £6,500 for 22 charities. That’s testament to her ability to pivot the business to develop new revenue streams that can continue to grow outside the pandemic. She has also used the time to help the hospitality and leisure industry and is supporting their efforts to encourage dog owners to visit dog friendly places safely under Government guidance. It’s a great business with real potential that I am really enjoying being a part of.”
Carol Hall is Regional Manager for Angels Invest Wales. She added: “We are working really hard to grow the angel community in Wales so it’s great to see how Dog Furiendly is already benefiting from the skills and experience of our syndicate of co-investors. They’re working hard to develop a global brand whilst also attracting more visitors to the valleys by partnering with the tourism and hospitality sector to help promote local destinations that are dog friendly. For anyone that loves dogs then Dog Furiendly is a great idea backed by brilliant technology that is definitely getting tails wagging!”
Established in 2017, Angels Invest Wales) is Wales’ leading angel investment network and an integral part of Development Bank of Wales. It has over 200 registered business angels in a wide ranging network that seeks to provide private investment for growing and start-up businesses in Wales.
As one of the most active investors currently ‘approved’ with Angels Invest Wales, Andrew Diplock has a growing portfolio of private investments and is a keen advocate of developing start-ups and SMEs in Wales. He was previously a member of the Welsh Government Valleys Taskforce and led the PitchIt Valleys initiative that was organised by BeTheSpark.