Charlotte dog-walking startup The Waggle Company has had a big six months.
They were named StartCharlotte’s startup of the year, then selected from more than 1,000 applicants to spend 13 weeks at the prestigious Techstars Austin accelerator.
Now the company has taken another huge step forward: The Waggle Company has closed on a $750,000 seed round of funding.
It means a great deal to the company, which had been bootstrapped since it was founded two years ago by Meggie Williams. In that time, dog owners around Charlotte have come to know and love the on-demand dog walking service founded on trust and targeting peace of mind. Among the features include via real-time updates, GPS mapping of your dog’s walk, and close communication with your dog walker.
Williams and husband Sebastian, now The Waggle Company’s CFO, started the company with a $5,000 investment and with Meggie as their sole dog walker (traveling by scooter, no less).
The seed round was led by Charlotte Angel Fund. “It’s Charlotte helping Charlotte,” Williams said.
The Waggle Company team plans to use the money to continue hiring — including a lead software engineer, and expand into new markets.
There’s no timeline yet on when or where Waggle will expand.
Greg Brown, managing director of the Charlotte Angel Fund, says the fund’s members liked The Waggle Company’s approach to the Charlotte market and how they built out their platform to be able to scale beyond the city.
Even as the company expands, Williams said she intends to bring the same thoughtfulness to the company built on local community.
“Something that we care a lot about is being very hyperlocal,” Williams said. “We are a Charlotte company and we do right by our Charlotte clients, and it is a very homegrown feel. That is something that we would never want to lose…It is a family, it is a local family, and that is something that we’re trying to build.”
What does this mean for the larger Charlotte community?
Williams describes this $750,000 investment as a win for the Charlotte startup ecosystem.
Williams first presented her company at Charlotte PitchBreakfast, and she credits much of her preparedness for her later presentation to the Charlotte Angel Fund to the feedback she received there.
Directed by Juan Garzón, also the founder of StartCharlotte, Charlotte PitchBreakfast offers local startups the opportunity to pitch to panelists and an audience who provide feedback from which they can hone their pitch and brand message.
In turn, The Waggle Company is now giving back to the local startup community.
“They’re just genuinely nice people, always willing to give you their time and be supportive of other entrepreneurs…and really interested in the community as a whole,” Garzón said.
The Waggle Company’s Charlotte roots and support network dig deeper still.
While preparing to raise money, Williams collaborated frequently with peers and friends who founded the likes of 2ULaundry (a previous Techstars selectee) and EcomDash, the recipient of Charlotte Angel Fund’s only other investment in a Charlotte-based company.
Williams has also spent the past six weeks at Techstars learning and living with the founders of Charlotte-based companies SkillPop and Milkful.
“We think [The Waggle Company] have done a great job at building the brand and the business model here in Charlotte,” Brown said. “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with them as they look to expand within Charlotte as well as another market or two.”