Dacia Rohlehr is helping you find transportation for your pet

Dacia Rohlehr is helping you find transportation for your pet

Who: Dacia Rohlehr, founder and CEO of Paws En Route, a pet transportation company
Company HQ: Bloor West Village
Founded: 2017
Employees: 40

How it works: “We provide car transportation for pets, like dogs, cats, rabbits and birds. Book a ride for your pet, whether they’re going to the groomer, vet or airport, and one of our pet-loving drivers will accompany them.”

Eureka moment: “In 2016, I had a golden retriever named Liam, who got very sick with a virus. We needed to get him from a vet in the west end to an emergency clinic downtown, but there was no pet transportation service available. Liam died, and I realized there were probably lots of other pet owners who had the same experience, so I launched Paws En Route.”

How much you spent initially: “About $50,000 of my own money. It went toward paying researchers, setting up a website, doing some marketing and hiring the first fleet of drivers.”

Your turning point: “In 2019, I left my job at a consulting firm to focus full time on Paws En Route. During the pandemic, we noticed an uptick in demand with people getting more pets, quadrupling our daily bookings.”

Your big-time backers: “We’ve raised roughly $700,000 from equity crowdfunding and the Business Development Bank of Canada.”

The best advice you’ve received: “ ‘Success is not about you.’ It takes a team to make a business successful, not one person.”

The worst advice you’ve received: “ ‘Most entrepreneurs fail.’ Technically, it’s true, but if somebody wants to try to become the next unicorn, it’s their decision to make. Why dissuade them?”

Tech jargon you hate: “ ‘Pivot.’ I’d prefer to learn and make small tweaks instead of making drastic changes to the business.”

Favourite part of work-from-home: “It allows for work-life balance. I can have lunch with my family or take my dog, Finn, for a walk.”

Typical work-from-home attire: “I keep it casual, with track pants and a T-shirt. But if I need to be Zoom-ready, I usually put on a blouse or a nice jacket.”

App you can’t live without: “The Apple Health app. Throughout the day, it sends me reminders to get up and take a break.”

Coolest thing in your office: “My Peloton. Running a company can be really stressful, so I like to hop on, do a class, recharge and get back to work.”

If you weren’t running a start-up: “I’d be working at a pet rescue organization, helping displaced dogs find a forever home.”