Don’t we all go “aawwww…” at the pictures of all those cute and cuddly pets our friends put up on their Facebook walls? Don’t you go gaga over Boo, the world’s cutest dog, whose Facebook page has over 4 million friends?
OK, maybe not all of us. For those who’d rather not have pictures of animals flooding our timelines, here’s a tip: introduce pet-owning friends to Aiiooo (www.aiiooo.com), a fully-fledged social network for pets.
Aiiooo, whose name originates from the Mandarin term for loving animals or “爱物” (pronounced “Ai Wu”), offers pet owners a place online for everything pet-related. Users can make new friends of all shapes and sizes (yes, your pets can have online friends), set up play dates, flaunt cute pictures of them and even track their moods. And in case you can’t get enough of patting Rex, you can pat him virtually as well. A Pet Happiness Index also makes sure you fulfil your pet owner responsibilities. More practically, Aiiooo also features a news section on the latest pet related news from all over the world, as well as a tips section for users to learn more about pet grooming and training.
The Singapore-based startup will be looking to introduce, in the near future, a ‘virtual pet’ feature so non pet owners can also participate, as well as casual type games for users to play and earn points they can use to buy virtual goods and accessories for their pets (think Neopets). Virtual pet fun aside, Aiiooo is also looking to work with animal welfare organizations to promote responsible pet ownership.
“Pets are increasingly becoming main topics of conversation. This can be seen by simply scrolling through any Facebook news feed where almost 3 out of 12 posts are animal related,” reveals Aiiooo CEO Mikael Teo, 40, previously a creative in the advertising industry. “We already know pet owners will do anything for their pets, and often feel guilty for not spending more time with them.”
“So we created a place for them to interact, socialize and spend quality time together online.”
Its current business model looks at providing targeted ads for advertisers, promotional strategies and tie-ups with brands, business brand pages and providing in-game purchases.
Chief operating officer Eldon Heng reveals that the company has been meeting additional potential investors these few weeks and have already secured more funding from current investors. “For this Series A round of funding we aim to raise $500,000 with a valuation of $2 million in the next few months,” says Heng.
“This funding will help us with our advertising and promotion of Aiiooo as well as enable us to hire more talent to develop the site and roll out new features faster to keep up with our plans for Aiiooo in the next two years.”