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Homestead High School juniors launch startup for pet owners

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Courtesy of Karan Dalal
Teens Arnuv Tandon and Karan Dalal co-founded PetCode, an app that offers pet owners high-tech ways to keep track of all aspects of their pets’ lives.

While the pandemic and the shelter-in-place orders that followed have ruined many people’s plans, two local high school students have used this time to become entrepreneurs.

In March, Homestead High School juniors Karan Dalal and Arnuv Tandon of Los Altos launched PetCode, a startup that offers pet owners high-tech ways to keep track of all aspects of their pets’ lives.

“Remote learning has actually helped us build this company because we really found ourselves with a huge influx of time,” Tandon said. “It’s interesting that even though we generally associate remote learning as a negative thing in the sense that we’d rather be in-person, it was a really big positive for our company because we probably wouldn’t have started without remote learning.”

Via its website, mobile app and QR tag, PetCode addresses three main aspects of owning a pet: the pet’s health, social interaction and safety.

To address the pet’s health, the PetCode app enables users to set reminders for vet appointments and medication. To make sure the pet has social interaction, the app locates nearby pet parks and is able to find discounts to retailers exclusive to PetCode subscribers. Finally, PetCode’s unique QR tag ensures that in case of an emergency, anybody can easily return the pet back to its owner by simply scanning the tag, which reveals contact information and a complete profile.

“I can only imagine how daunting that is for people to really take care of a pet when they also have a full-time job,” Tandon said. “So PetCode is really for anyone who wants to decrease that burden of pet ownership and really only focus on the good moments.”

Entrepreneurial spirit

Initially, Dalal said the PetCode concept began with their QR tag idea. Their unique tag would allow pet owners to create a virtual profile – which can be updated at any time – of their pet that can be accessed by scanning the QR tag.

Since then, their company has only grown.

“Throughout the next few weeks, we began developing the idea more and more, adding a bunch of features,” Dalal said. “(We kept thinking), ‘How can we make this as useful for pet owners as possible?’ It sort of evolved into that large test management system that we have today and we’re currently working on.”

PetCode has since expanded its team, allowing for it to spread nationally, Tandon said.

After interviewing approximately 50 people, Dalal and Tandon assembled a team of all high school students – including two web designers, two app designers, a graphic designer and a content writer – who live not only in the Bay Area, but also in Texas and as far as Canada.

Dalal and Tandon were teammates before they became business partners. The two met at a robotics club at Homestead High.

“I think one thing which we noticed about each other is that we get really caught up and excited by ideas,” Tandon said. “We like to read startup news a lot, and just the notion of starting something by ourselves, making a legacy in the community or potentially the nation and also having an opportunity to make money is something that’s really motivated us and intrinsically motivates us to this day. I’d say that entrepreneurial spirit was in both myself and Dalal from day one, and we’re always looking for something to start.”

They plan to launch their Kickstarter early next year to raise money for their mobile phone app and manufacturing products.

To sign up for the pre-launch email list and for more information on PetCode, visit petcodeusa.com.

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