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An Interview With Natalia Shahmetova, Founder of Woofz

TechNational presents a conversation with Natalia Shahmetova, the driving force behind Woofz, a rapidly growing PetTech startup that's transforming the landscape of dog ownership.

Woofz is a platform that redefines the relationship between dogs and their owners, offering over 70 specialized courses tailored to fit modern lifestyles.

In this interview, Natalia shares her insights into founding Woofz, navigating the challenges of being a woman leader in the tech industry, and shaping the future of pet care technology with innovation and dedication.

1) What inspired you to found Woofz?

With a decade of experience in the mobile application market, I have seen how the landscape of many niches has changed when digital solutions have appeared there. And the pet industry is a good example of this. When we launched Woofz, it was already clear that this direction has huge potential. This is what inspired me as a marketer.

But at the same time, I'm also the owner of the best dog in the world. My primary motivation was to be the best parent to my furry friend. But the traditional approach to training simply didn't fit and I needed a more agile solution due to a lot of travel and a busy work schedule.  That's why we developed Woofz. It's designed to help me and countless other dog owners build strong bonds with our pets while still living our life.

2) As a woman founder in the tech industry, what unique challenges have you faced, and how have you navigated them to build and lead a successful startup?

I know that business is still a place where the majority are men and traditional approaches to leadership are formed in such a way that leadership is primarily a man's business. But I don’t want to divide into female and male leadership. I believe there are just different types of leadership. And I just try to understand my place and my own unique style and values as a leader.

This is my first experience as a founder, so I would say that overall this path is completely new and unique for me. As a main decision-maker, I realized that I needed to change my thinking in many aspects, learn how to always see the big picture and focus on things that are really important for the development and growth of the business. In addition, it is important to be a driver and inspire your team.

3) Could you share with us a bit about the development process behind the training courses available on Woofz?

The approach to how we build Woofz is perhaps the greatest value of our product. We were one of the first in this market, so we feel a responsibility to our users and strive to create a product that will truly help create a strong bond between dogs and their owners. Therefore, the basis of our product is the experience of professional cynologists and our team, who have been studying this field and the needs of dog parents for many years.

The process is structured as follows:

1. Our product development and RnD teams analyze the pet market, trends, and our audience of dog owners. This is necessary to better understand how we can improve our product and keep it relevant.

2. Next, with the help of professional dog trainers and other experts, we develop new training programs or other useful features.

3. At the final stage, a team of designers, copywriters and developers make sure that Woofz is not only comprehensive, but also simple and pleasant to use.

4) What do you believe sets Woofz apart from other pet tech startups, and what role do you see it playing in shaping the future of pet care technology?

This market continues to grow and more and more pet parents are looking for digital solutions to improve their lives and the lives of their pets as an alternative or complement to more traditional approaches. Devices such as GPS trackers, health monitors and pet activity trackers are on the rise.

I think the market will continue to add products to new audiences to close their use cases. For example, with the growing focus on pet health and nutrition, personalized nutrition solutions and smart feeding devices are on the rise.

And, of course, artificial intelligence has a strong influence on this niche. This year we launched the Woofz AI agent based on the knowledge of our experts. And we immediately realized that this feature is of great importance to our customers.

5) Reflecting on your journey with Woofz, what has been the most significant lesson you've learned as a leader in the tech industry, and how do you believe it can inspire other women aspiring to leadership roles in tech?

I highlight three main traits that allow me to deal with obstacles with ease and to find timely growth points and solutions to crisis problems.

Firstly, irrespective of your life stage, continuous learning and skill development are imperative. Develop your strengths and skills. Aim for profound expertise in your chosen field.

Secondly, investing in your team and nurturing human relationships is paramount. Transparency, reliability, and your reputation are essential. Remember, behind every product are people. Their professionalism, values, and the glue that binds them into a team often determine the success of your project.

And lastly, keep flexibility and a sense of humor. When you work with a startup, there are many black swans waiting for you. You must be flexible and stress-resistant to lead your team through all the complexities towards the goal.

To find out more about Woofz you can visit their website.