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Orapup: A Startup Story

Posted: 3/01/2013
Our start-up story of the day is a tale with humor and interesting twists.

Orabrush is a startup invested in improving the personal hygiene of people. Founded in 2009 by Dr.Bob Wagstaff, he spent over $40,000 in its adverstising campaign to end up selling only 100 pieces in the beginning. Like most startups they had no backers.

As a last ditch effort, Dr.Bob approached a research class at Marriott School of Management, BYU, looking out for a business strategy. He stumbled upon his future team - Jeffery Harmon, Austin Craig(journalsim student), Joel Ackerman(script writer) and Devin Graham(film major) here. Together, they shot their first Orabrush video film that became an instant success. So the star in the show was YouTube for them.

The next twist in the story came when the customers demanded that the company create a tongue cleaner for dogs. Consumer choices can be really weird at times.

The company approached IndieGogo for a crowdfund. A project named "Orapup" tracked the consumer preferences. With a pre-meditated target of $40,000, they managed to raise more than their anticipation.

The real addition to their learning curve according to Dr.Bob was "consumer demand and high interest from passionate dog owners".

So we did some sneaking around to find out how does their latest brand work. Was their dog-friendly project a success?

If any of you are dog owners or have a been around dogs remotely, are well aware how stubborn as mules certain breeds can be. But Orapup makes the owner experience really easy. All that they have to do is feed the dogs small chunks of the syrupy paste for a self cleaning process to materialize. Bad breath on dogs is no longer a thing to get frustrated about.

On a lighter note, the company's CEO Jeff Davis said the "paste tastes like beef and bacon. I've tried it myself". With a 23 year stint at Proctor & Gamble, Davis has had to make a lot of focal changes to conduct business. Applauding the latest trend of e-commerce, "he had to learn to do everything in reverse. Instead of making a product and testing it before launch, Orabrush gets suggestions and feedback from consumers first, then builds a brand and takes pre-orders online before a product is manufactured. Its entire business model is built around social media".

However, for those of you looking to enjoy a good bonding experience with their dogs, must try this atleast once. Within six months of its launch, the product has caught up the market with much awe.The project was in fact launched with a good enough $75,000 in pre-orders. And mind you that's not at all bad for a startup that had no takers to begin with!

Keeping in line with its success rate, the company is planning to launch similar "tongue brushes" for other domesticated animals. While the human demographic was certainly not as lucky for this enterprise but they have an alternate market waiting for them to explore.

The best thing about this startup in our opinion is that they represent the typical inspirational business story for other small businesses who have been through such rough patches of their own.

The CEO rightly sums up his gamut of experiences."Proctor & Gamble taught me a lot about strategy and discipline, and in the startups and smaller companies, it's a little bit about creativity and chaos."

You can catch their first promotional video below.



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