Rana Atheya, CEO of DogSpot, saw his venture grow four times over in 2014, and expects to deliver more than 700,000 pet products across the country in 2015. According to a recently published report, “India Pet Food Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2019”, the pet food market in India is projected to cross $ 270 million by 2019. The major factors contributing to this exponential rise in demand for pet food will include the rising number of nuclear families -especially those in urban areas- and a rising per capita disposable income, which has been driving increased pet ownership.
The first Awesome Startup Employee of this year is a passionate writer, photographer, traveler and a food blogger. Meet Neha Manchanda, the Content Creator and Blogger at DogSpot. She is also a pet parent. The team at DogSpot refers to pet owners as pet parents. Pets are like our children after all, and pet owners/parents will agree with me here.
In DogSpot’s team of 38 members, there are 10 who are pet parents, while most others have had pets at some point of time in their life. Rana says that in general, “pet parents are very jovial in nature. However, when we first met Neha during the interview, she came across as a serious person. It made us all wonder if she would fit in the fun-loving yet hard-working environment. We wondered if we were making the right selection. Au contraire, Neha is one of the most cheerful person in the team, with a rich sense of humour.”
Neha joined DogSpot in June 2014, as it was the perfect opportunity for her to combine her two passions – being a pet parent and a photographer. “Because she is doing what she loves, the quality of Neha’s work is very high,” says Rana.
Prior to joining DogSpot she was working in the corporate world as the head of HR for Sportsfit, a health and fitness centre initiative by the Indian skipper, M S Dhoni. Besides this, she has eight years of work experience as an HR professional with organisations like Evalueserve, Manpower and Adidas Group (Reebok).
“I still believe that a transition from a successful corporate career to being a content writer for DogSpot has been one of the best decisions that I have taken, and I love and enjoy every moment of it.”
Learning more each day
At DogSpot, Neha thoroughly enjoys learning more and more about pets each day. “My knowledge base about pets has gone up manifolds. At the end of the day, I think it also makes me a better pet parent,” she says. There is so much to learn that she feels the eight hours aren’t enough.
Given the absence of any professional degree with link to her current role specialisation, we asked Neha what were her sources. “Some of my colleagues are like a Wikipedia on animal world, and it’s absolutely fantastic to interact with them. Before writing the blog, I refer to online websites and experts such as veterinarians, canine behaviorists and even dog experts.”
The results have been good.
Startups and values
Neha wholeheartedly recommends working for startups. Though she refers to it as taking a huge risk, she says that it’s all about your own personal strengths. It’s about how well you’re able to adapt to a culture where every day will bring in newer challenges and learning. If there is one place where you can really find yourself, know your strengths and weaknesses, it is a startup, where everything is all about who you are.
One of her happiest moments at DogSpot was when one of her articles crossed an organic share of 10,500 shares. She says, “It was a fantastic feeling; a cherished one!”
Being the daughter of an army doctor, her family has travelled all over the country. The love for pets is something that she has inherited from her grandparents and parents. “For all I remember,” she says, “we have always had dogs in the house. My grandparents and even their parents have had dogs. The tradition continues even to this day.”
One of the most defining moments in Neha’s life was when 52 days-old Myshka walked into their house. “The sense of being responsible for a pup is a wonderful feeling. The joys of coming home to a dog after a long day at work, being greeted by tail wags and the feeling of being loved unconditionally makes everything worthwhile.”