Christopher Gonzalez, Dave Comisky and Jim Camut consider their dogs to be their best friends, and they wanted to share that unconditional love with other dog owners. “Without our dogs, we wouldn’t be anywhere,” Gonzalez admits. “We’ve been longtime neighbors and friends here in Washington, D.C., and relied on each other heavily to take care of each other’s pets.”

They developed Barkly, offering on-demand dog walking services for dog owners in the Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. areas. Barkly background-checks, insures, and trains its walkers for superior service and includes features like GPS mapping and pick up/drop off notifications through its custom smartphone app.

My Successes: 

“When we first came together in the spring of 2015, it was just an idea,” mentor Hal Shelton recalls. “By July, they had launched in D.C.; by October they had launched in Baltimore; by February [2016] they had an app in the [Apple] store; in March they hired their first full-time employee in addition to their dog walkers; in April they launched in Philadelphia.”

Barkly secured its first outside capital with Shelton's help, and Barkly grew its business by more than 200 percent between January and September 2016.

Barkly’s initial success has allowed the company to give back to the community, in part by hosting events to support organizations like local pet rescues.

The company was named Outstanding Job Creator at the 2016 SCORE Awards. 

How SCORE Helped: 

The Barkly team worked with Hal Shelton, who met with the co-founders monthly to discuss raising capital and scaling the business. "Hal is a seasoned investor and his experience on sitting on that side of the negotiating table was invaluable for our business," co-founder David Comisky says. "He helped us navigate raising our first outside capital and scale our business quickly to three markets."

“We wouldn’t be here as entrepreneurs without his guidance,” Gonzalez says. “He is as invested in our company’s success and has experiences helping small companies scale rapidly.”