Dacia Rohlehr has over 20 years of consulting and corporate finance experience working for PwC, IBM, and Deloitte, as well as co-founding and running her own management consulting firm, which was featured in the Profit 500 fastest growing companies in Canada.
More importantly though, Dacia has been a pet parent for over 30 years, and cannot imagine not being a pet parent. Which is why she left her consulting firm in 2019 to pursue her goal of making Paws en route the leader in pet transportation in North America. We chatted to Dacia to find out more!
Why did you start Paws en route?
My dog Liam was very ill and needed a ride from a veterinary hospital near my house to a larger hospital with specialists. There was no taxi, Uber or other service that would transport us to the hospital. Liam passed away from his illness and I started Paws en route because I did not want any other pet parent to ever be without transportation.
Can you tell us a bit more about the Paws team - who’s in the business?
Our management team and drivers are all devoted pet parents and are pet experienced. We treat every pet that we transport as part of our family. We have a stringent recruitment process where there is zero tolerance for driving infractions and we conduct a thorough criminal background check on everyone. There is extensive training for Paws drivers.
Our management team also has a strong background and many years of experience in business, technology, building and running successful companies
Covid has led to a boom in animal adoption. How has this affected Paws?
During our fiscal year which ended January 31st, 2021, our revenue tripled during the pandemic. As a result of the estimated one million newly adopted pets in Canada, our sales continue to grow month over month.
We are not only seeing an increase in pet air travel but also long haul pet transportation (> than 50 kms) due to picking up and dropping off puppies to their new homes. We have also experienced growth in corporate partnerships with vet clinics, breeders, customs brokers, groomers, pet rescue organizations, CNIB and many others whose clients require a reliable and safe transportation service.
You recently launched an app for your service. Do you have any other news or developments you’ll be announcing soon?
We launched the first pet transportation app in Canada which was very exciting. In addition to the app, we are expanding our operations to Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal in May 2021, as a result of an increase in demand for our service from corporate and retail clients.
Running your own business can be tough. Who’s a fellow Founder that inspires you?
Being a Founder is hard and the probability of failure is high. I am inspired by every Founder who is able to build, scale, finance, achieve success and accomplish their dreams
And what’s a fun fact about you not many people know?
I am a water skier, have run the Chicago Marathon, wanted to be a vet at age 7 and used to be the neighbourhood source for bandages for injured pets, and have travelled to 40 places around the world. I enjoy traveling, learning about new cultures, and trying new foods.
Paws’ raise is now live on FrontFundr, head on over to their campaign page for more information!