Leading the pack in pet hospitality

STRUGGLING to put the words together, Agnez Lim finally blurts out, "I just felt like it was very hard to move on," referring to the passing of her late Golden Retriever, a tragic moment which became the flint that would spark the tinder that is now JomPaw, a pet hospitality company unlike any other in Malaysia. The platform provides a swath of services ranging from pet boarding, pet sitting, pet day care, dog training, dog walking to pet taxiing throughout the whole of Peninsular Malaysia.

As the endeavour quickly became overwhelming due to burgeoning demand, the necessity to evolve in order to sustain JomPaw's pet hospitality operations saw co-founders, Joanne Lee and Ngan Szu Mun coming on board, with all three pooling their extensive knowledge in business consulting, e-commerce, marketing, and PR expertise to cultivate the growth of the company sporadically in just under six months.

Coming from business and public relations backgrounds, with degrees ranging from biotechnology to medical science, the last image anyone could possibly imagine when seeing the founders of JomPaw would be budding entrepreneurs in an animal service startup, and it certainly is an eyebrow-raising story.

Citing a leap of faith while being in-between jobs, Lim's first move was to coerce Lee, as the latter was coincidentally looking for a change in scenery after spending eight years in public relations. The duo then convinced Ngan, a co-worker of Lim at the time, to bring her experience in product and brand management to the table.

Beyond their chemistry and a friendship that spans 12 years, Lim claims "The most important thing is that we know the three of us are animal lovers". Having built a solid foundation based on the aforementioned trifecta necessary for a harmonious partnership, the three young women dropped their positions in the corporate world and dived into the uncertain waters of a startup business.

Stressing on JomPaw's meticulous adherence to providing quality services at every level and keeping lines of communication between every party as transparent as possible, the founders aim to keep everyone involved satisfied, as Lee says, "The best way we can protect everyone's interests is by educating the caretakers and our clients," before Ngan, the youngest of the trio, chips in, "We are the only platform that screens through our caretakers. So not everyone can join our platform."

This proves to be true, as caretakers are screened with extreme scrutiny, to both gauge their responsibility and love when it comes to taking care of another living being's life, while customers are briefed accordingly in the appropriate area depending on the service.

Customers, caretakers, and the experienced trainers from PDRM's K9 Unit are also required to attend "Meet and Greets", so that each party is comfortable with the other before proceeding with the pet service.

It is most certainly a layered, difficult operation, and steeped in humility, Lim exclaims, "Every day is a new learning curve", as even the founders find themselves constantly being challenged while learning the best ways to adapt to JomPaw's growing structure.

Despite having 40% customer retention, 50 caretakers and roughly 40 animals under their care as of July this year, the trio have no plans to rest on their laurels.

As JomPaw automates the company's website, with plans to expand operations in East Malaysia, the founders have additionally kicked off JomPaw Charities, a charity arm that aims to give back to the community by aiding animal shelters and animal protection organisations, as Lim hopes JomPaw will be able to go a step further by helping shelter homes to close existing gaps involving the lack of volunteers and financing.