A fast-growing municipal pet licensing service out of Canada has decided to establish its U.S. headquarters right here in Syracuse. Docupet introduced on-line registration service here about two months ago, and now they have an office in AXA Tower II.
CEO Grant Goodwin says every community licenses pets differently, so Docupet aims to streamline and modernize the process. He says it’s an effort to reunite owners with their pets so they don’t end up in overburdened, understaffed, and underfunded shelters.
"Typically, only about 13 percent of people in North America license their pets. We wanted to solve this issue because it's important for animal welfare. When you hear story after story of pets getting lost, and getting home within minutes, you realize you're solving a problem for pet owners, too."
Goodwin says one in three pets runs away at some point in their lives. Here’s how it works: Pet owners go to Docupet’s website for a license. For a small fee, they’ll get a tag with a special code which, when looked up by the 24-7 staff, has the pet’s profile and owner information. In return, Goodwin says they’ll issue gift cards and other rewards good for pet supplies.
So how did a company based in Kingston, Ontario go from simply offering its service in Syracuse to setting up shop? Goodwin says the American market presents a significant opportunity for growth, and locating here makes that easier. Dave Mankiewicz with CenterState CEO says it emerged from the partnership called the Kingston-Syracuse Pathway
"We started talking about what it would take to help each other out, in terms of bringing Canadian companies who want to get into the U.S. market to Syracuse, and to find Syracuse and Central New York companies who wanted to get into the Canadian market and bring them to Kingston. It's called 'soft landing.' Its a mutual promise to each other to help each other when our businesses were interested in expanding to other markets."
Mankiewicz says eight more businesses are on their way. Goodwin, Docupet’s CEO, credits CenterState, the City, and SUNY Oswego for making the process so seamless.
"All of this has been hands-off and easy, to the point where it was a no-brainer to create a second headquarters here in America so we can serve the market. With that behind us, we'll put more effort into sales and marketing in the U.S. We are now launching a program every week this fall. By the time the middle of next year comes around, we believe we'll be in five different states, and have more than 20 programs."
Goodwin says they've already partnered with more than 20 municipalities and regins. So far, only two people work at the Syracuse headquarters. Goodwin hopes to hire 10 to 20 more for administrative, technology, and customer service positions as they grow.