The animal welfare ecosystem in the country is a fairly large one including the Animal Welfare Board of India, muliptle NGOs, pet owners and a huge number of animal lovers working to care for and improve the life of animals.
Despite the large body of people and organisations driven towards animal welfare, there are moments where we still find ourselves helpless while trying to assist a wounded animal on the street. I clearly remember the afternoon two years ago when a friend called me to help her find the number of an NGO that could help a cow. It was crying in pain while lying in the middle of a busy road in Bengaluru. Despite calls to different groups, we could not manage to get the animal moved.
It is in this context that ResQ Rangers provides an exciting proposition. It is a mobile application that uses mobile web and location-based services to solve a problem. The brainchild of Aneesha Chhikara and Arun Budakoti, it uses technology to bring together animal lovers to take up the cause of our four-legged friends and create social impact in the animal welfare space.
Arun says, ‘Most people are compassionate and willing to spend money if it can save a life. But their ability to extend help is limited to their contact list. ResQ Rangers makes it easier for everyone to help.’
According to Aneesha, both founders were active animal volunteers for the past 20 years. “Every day, we are faced with the problem of reaching out to the right people and organising help for the animals in crisis. The most common issue people deal with is getting an animal ambulance to attend to a case. Finding the nearest available animal ambulance and closest volunteer becomes a challenge, even when they are willing to spend money for a quality and time-bound service. We wanted to make it easier for people to find help and call for SLA-bound services,” she says.
The idea for the startup came up when the duo was thinking about how technology can address the problem of connecting people with fellow animal lovers, while providing location-based services with just a click-and-call option.
What is it about?
How does it work?
Arun explains how the app works:
The animal lover/concerned citizen can click and upload the picture of the crisis. The location gets automatically updated and a unique ID is allocated to the case. Volunteers, animal lovers, para-vets and vets from the vicinity get automatically tagged to start collaborating. The people tagged can get the driving directions to the location of the crisis.
The users that see the incident in their news feed will have the options of tagging other users who they think can help in a specific case. Thus, somebody who can actually offer immediate help can reach the site immediately. Users planning to go to the location can leave a comment on the newsfeed of their intention to do so, so that other users know that help is on the way. By messaging on the same newsfeed, the users can collaborate for the rescue.
The user can click the ambulance button and get the location of the nearest free (NGO) and available paid animal transport service. The driver side of the app gets a notification and the status change is reflected on the case ID. Once the case is resolved, the case ID is closed and the people associated with the rescue get medals.
Team ResQ Rangers
Arun, a pet owner himself, has been an active volunteer for the past 15 years. He lives in Gurgaon and has been in IT and telecom sales for the last 15 years. Aneesha lives in Delhi and has been an active volunteer for the last 20 years. She has three rescue dogs. Aneesha has been in IT, sales and alliances for last 16 years.
The Android version of the app was launched in May for Delhi-NCR. “We have got tremendous response with almost 1,000 downloads. ResQ Rangers have now more than 40 NGOs registered in our database and a paid animal transport services partner. There have been more than 200 reported and resolved cases,” says Aneesha.
ResQ Rangers has also received the Social Innovation Award from World CSR Congress for ‘Innovation in Product ‘category in Feb 2015. “This was a great encouragement for the entire team working on the technology platform,” she adds.
As regards revenue generation, there are four avenues in the first phase – the animal transport services where revenue share and network usage work, advertisements, e-commerce and ‘pet foster parent service’.
In the first phase, the duo used user-influencer marketing, PR, SEO and social media. In the next phase, ResQ Rangers will also be made available on iOS. It will also have an innovative piggy bank concept of crowd contribution and sponsorship on reported animal crisis cases.
On the market, Arun says, “India has 40-50 million street animals, more than 10 million pet owners and 40 million animal lovers. The market size for animal care and welfare is USD 965 million with a projected year-on-year growth in double digits in the next five years.”