With 15 years of experience in the pet industry, Tobi Skovron decided to take it to the sharing economy and Zingy, an on-demand dog walking app, was born. Erik Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media, talks to Tobi about Zingy, focusing on the pet first and Santa Monica. ¬†
Erik Huberman: What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
Tobi Skovron: I had a desire to be an entrepreneur. I often joke with my team that I have out of body experiences and the only way I can describe that is, I think that, for me, I was born an entrepreneur. Some of the stuff that comes out of my mouth and the ideas I come up with, I don’t feel I’m in control of. I can shape them and control them eventually. I believe entrepreneurs are born, not made. Some can be influenced by their surroundings, but I was totally born an entrepreneur.
EH: Tell me about Zingy.
TS: Zingy is an on-demand dog-walking app. Today, we’re in dog-walking but the vision is for the business to be multi-services. Some of the guys on the team have had 25 years experience; I’ve personally had 15. Being in Santa Monica, being influenced by Silicon Beach made me think about the business model of other tech companies here and how I can apply it to the tech industry. We’ve taken the modern business model – the shared economy – and paired it with pet care.
EH: How are you changing the world?
TS: Having been in the space for 15 years, I know the impact pet-focused products make in people’s lives. I think Zingy could increase pet ownership. I think a lot of people would love to have a pet, but don’t have the time or a good schedule for it. With Zingy, you don’t have to give up that interaction, but also have a solution for the in between times when you’re not there. I think we’re changing the world by increasing pet ownership. We’re making pet ownership more accessible and easy because when you’re not there, you open Zingy, press a button and we’re there.
EH: Why Santa Monica?
TS: I’m actually from Australia. I moved to Los Angeles in 2009 for two reasons: 1. I’m a huge Lakers fan (although right now I’m cheering for the Clippers) and 2. It’s one hop ‚Äî a long hop ‚Äî but it’s one hop from Australia and Canada and those are the markets I was working in. Santa Monica is definitely a tourist destination and as someone who is living abroad from my home base, I want to live in the heart of Los Angeles. That’s what I think Santa Monica is.
EH: Do you have one piece of advice for an entrepreneur starting their own business?
TS: The idea you have is never stupid, but it’s all about the execution. Some of these amazing businesses only exist because someone executed their goal. There’s no let-down; if you want to be a success, it’s 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. Stay the course; it’s all about the execution and the output more so than anything.
EH: Is there anything you’d like to share with the Santa Monica community?
TS: The one thing I want people to know about Zingy is that we’re a pet company first and foremost. We’re not a tech company trying to enter the pet space; we’re a pet company using technology for our service. We are focused on the need of the pet, not the need to create another business. We’ll build the technology around what the pet and pet owner need.