PETS AND PEOPLE ARE BETTER TOGETHER.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in a hackathon at Nestlé Purina HQ.

How can St. Louis become the most pet-friendly city in the United States through the application of technology?

Challenge Statements:

  • How might we use technology to make the process of bringing people and pets together through adoption or fostering easier?
  • How might technology help pet lovers find pet-friendly places, or encourage and enable more businesses to become pet-friendly?
  • How might we ensure our pets start and are kept healthy by using technology to make veterinary options more accessible?
  • How might we use technology to help people more quickly reunite with their lost pets more efficiently and effectively?
  • How might you give St. Louis pet owners tools through technology to help them socialize their pets and connect them with fellow pet owners/lovers in their neighborhoods and community at-large?

We were challenged through the many ways that technology can help pet adoption and wellness, and help humans develop stronger relationships with their pets. We chose to focus on a subset of the problem but there’s plenty of room for innovation in this sector.

During Friday’s kick-off, we heard from innovators and leader, ranging from clinics, shelters, pet-owners and pet care experts to provide insight and direction.

Our Inspiration

We drew our inspiration from applications like Waze and Pokemon Go. They are apps that provide a distributed social experiences, in unique and novel ways in their respective industries. We wanted to do the same for pet owners to forge strong, healthy, and affectionate relationships.

What our solution accomplished

We chose to call our solution PawPoints, it is an application that:

  • Makes it easier for pet lovers to find pet-friendly locations
  • Connects them with other pet lovers in the community, who may share similar interests.
  • Rewards owners who give their pets the care they deserve
  • Helps you find your missing pet
  • Encourages adoption, and the promotion of adoption.

The best part is that users may not even realize that they’re doing all this. They’re just having fun using the application, competing against their friends,and earning points which gets them rewards and saves them money.

How we architected this platform

Our native cloud stack is served from a Heroku instance, deployed using the command line interface. We stored the data in a MongoDB document database. For the back end, we used Node.js, and rendered templates with pug. On the front end we used jQuery JavaScript library. Bootstrap for responsive and mobile-first, Font Awesome icons, and Leaflet for an open source map. On the iOS side, we created a native application in Objective C using the MapKit framework, and other various imported UI packages. We used bitbucket for our code repository.

What we learned.

We love pets. They’re our best friends, profile pictures, and members of our families. They enrich our lives and have the potential to make a lasting positive impact on our communities.

We won first place!

  • $5,000 in cash for the entire team.
  • Ability to direct a $5,000 matched donation to a pet-friendly nonprofit organization of their choice.
  • A (3-day, 2-night) trip for up to 6 people (depending on team size) to the Better with Pets Summit on Thursday, March 15 in Brooklyn, New York consisting of round-trip coach air transportation from Lambert International Airport, standard hotel accommodations (up to 6 rooms), ground transfers to/from airport to hotel, and up to 6 tickets to the event.
  • Purina product (swag) for each team member.
  • 3-month membership with TechShopSTL two training classes for each member.

 People’s Choice Award

  • $1,000 in cash for the entire team

Thank you!

This was the first hackathon that Purina has hosted. It was very well executed and organized. Event staff was supportive and helpful. Wireless internet upload and download speed was quick. The food was delicious. The facility was nothing short of incredible. It was awesome to see staff walking around the lobby with their pets, eager for participant ear scratches or bacon snacks.

Thank you for making this a memorable event!

Congratulations to the 1904labs team… Jordan Walker, Andrew Ulrich, Kit Menke, Ken Zheng and Beau Herndon