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What would you do if you got a home visit from the Animal Control Officer in your town and you had not yet licensed your dog?
Animal Rescue control units are going into neighborhoods snagging up pets and making unannounced visits more and more frequently across the country as Municipalities in all 50 states are finding new sources of revenue by cracking down on Dog Licensure laws and pet owners are getting stuck with steep fines.
HITSLABs founder Paul Tavolacci was paid a visit one day and started his company shortly after he had been further irritated by the arduous processes involved in being compliant with the Dog Licensing laws in his home state of Connecticut.
Rather than shout from the rooftops or vent over social media, which has about the same effect, Paul set out to resolve the problem by going 100% digital and starting a company as the next logical step. After all social causes don't move mountains, business opportunities around problems do.
The service is free to municipalities, vets, and pet owners unless a license is issued where only the pet owner pays a nominal fee in that instance. It's easy to use and provides Municipalities, Veterinarians and Pet Owners a more automated way to collaborate on record exchange by relaying data (for first time or renewals) without ever printing records, writing anything down, placing a postage stamp on an envelope, or gassing the car up to visit the town clerk.
Full disclosure, I knew Paul long before he reached out to tell me about his company as we had worked together at Bloomberg LP in New York years ago. Never the less, our experiences there resonate in a similar ways mainly by the critical mass top-down model beginning with early adopters and institutional clients. Bloomberg LP, scaled from a bond calculator sold to Merril Lynch as an early adopter and Wall Street followed shortly after. Bloomberg Law targets the AM Law 20 and top-tier law schools as early adopters. Like Mike Bloomberg, Paul didn’t rely on the VC failure based model, join a BS accelerator, pitch to other accredited investors at Angel meetings, or enter any business plan competitions (not that they have those in Connecticut). He put his own skin in the game and developed, a minimal viable product, then worked out arrangements with munis to offer their pet owners more convenient ways to comply.
Although their UX is not responsive, he recently hired a few developers to do it over again and a mobile app as well. Never-the-less, HitsLab can connect to any municipality in the USA to issue a license for $3 (or a much lower negotiated rate for participating munis) and they only renew existing licenses online. They are also testing proof of a concept with the Animal Doctor of Weston, CT for veterinarians to automatically upload certain records for pet owners that connect to them on https://www.hitslabs.com/user/connections and therefore validate their source while allowing them to exchange records without ever printing or rendering them on their desktop.