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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Safeguarding Unconditional Love

BabelBark provides the world’s only digital platform connecting pet parents, pet businesses, shelters and veterinarians

People have always loved the fact they can be themselves with a pet. As American author, M.K. Clinton, said, “The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” So, little wonder then that there was an estimated population of 525 million dogs in the world in 2012.

It also stands to reason, that as the global population of people grows, the global population of pets will increase commensurately. Today, the number of pets in the world stands at 900 million. What remains unchanged across generations, is the love that binds man and pet.   American author, Jill Abramson, said, “You know, a dog can snap you out of any kind of bad mood that you’re in, faster than you can think of.”

It was the Baby Boomers who changed the perspective of having an animal at home – from practical outdoor-dwellers to lovable pets who became part of the family. They were, therefore, the first to own pets as we know them.

However, as Baby Boomers have retired and Gen Xers are growing toward retirement as well, the Millennials are seen as the future of the pet industry. Millennials, unlike Baby Boomers, are in no great hurry to get married and have families. On the contrary, they prefer to be single and enjoy their lives without the worries of raising a family. As Ryan Gass, a senior manager in the pet food business, said, Millennials are reaching for pets to “fill the void” of not having kids. What is more, many Millennials consider their pets their “starter kids,” giving them the vicarious experience of parenthood, and preparing them to care for their own kids in time to come.

According to data compiled by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) in Stamford, Connecticut, around 70% of households in the U.S. have a pet. Studies indicate that there are nearly 90 million pet dogs in the U.S. today.

In addition, Millennials celebrate each milestone of their pet’s life, just as they would for their own kids. They also believe in giving their pets the best things in life that they can afford. For instance, more than 80% of pet owners believe that better quality food will enhance the quality of life for their pets, and reduce the chances of health issues in later life. They also introduce daily supplements into their pets’ lives. On the other hand, the pet food industry is finding itself struggling to balance the values of Millennials and their younger Gen Z. Research indicates that Gen Z is more critical of trusting brands.

Over 80% of pet owners believe that better quality food will not only improve the quality of their pets’ life but help reduce potential future health issues that arise with age. Unlike the cheap pet food of two generations ago, pet parents today prioritize high-quality ingredients in American-sourced premium food options. Thus, the U.S. pet food market is expected to be worth over $30 billion in 2022. Recent market research shows the pet care industry in North America is flourishing at $225 billion, and is forecast to reach $281 billion by 2023.

Apart from “human grade” food for their pets, Millennials like to dress up their pets in cute clothing, indulge them in pet grooming services, ensure their health through experienced vet services, use pet health insurance for serious illnesses, engage pet-sitting and dog walking services, also pet day care and pet hotels.

As anxious pet parents are challenged by having to seek different services for their pets in multiple ways, they are delighted to come across the globally enabled horizontal digital platform for the pet industry named Babelbark.

As Founder and CEO of Babelbark, Roy Stein, says, “The American Animal Hospital Association has chosen BabelBark as the exclusive vet-pet platform until Dec 2021 – to over 4400 clinics. And we are scheduled us to talk to 1800 clinics in 36 workshops through 2019.”

Roy Stein and Bill Rebozo, two software engineers who love their dogs, are thrilled that their digital platform is endorsed as “the” solution for veterinary clinics, creating new revenue streams and expanding services with the modern pet parents.”

In early 2015, Stein and Rebozo planned an extended vacation, but were agonizing over leaving their dogs with dog sitters. They ended up using their skills and experience in creating an app for the sitters. The app, BabelBark, was an instant success, and subsequently, Stein and Rebozo decided to broaden the scope of the app to make it a pet suite that allowed pet parents, pet businesses, shelters, and veterinarians, to all come together on the same digital platform to take care of the pets. That is the only one of its kind in the world.

In catering to the Millennials, Stein and Rebozo know they did the smart thing by creating their app, for that is what Millennials understand best – how to use technology to enhance the quality of life of those they love. And for many Millennials, their pets are the center of their lives. As the revered physician of ancient Greece, Hippocrates, once said, “The soul is the same in all living creatures… although the body of each is different.”

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