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22nd Oct 2015

INTERVIEW: This Irish Start-Up app is a pet rescue mission with a difference

An app to help you help Irish pets

Colm Boohig

JOE meets a trailblazing Irish entrepreneur.

As part of JOE’s Start-Up series, we talk to Stephen O’Connor, founder of the FourPaws and FourClaws apps.

Stephen was concerned at the lack of pet rescue options in the app sector, so set about creating an app to revolutionise this niche.


We spoke to the man from Athy in Kildare about this intriguing creation.

What are FourPaws and FourClaws all about?

FourPaws and FourClaws are two new apps to be a central place for animal rescues all over Ireland to post dog and cat adoption profiles.

The apps allow you to like or skip your way through animals available for adoption, and as soon as you see your preferred four-legged friend you can apply to adopt them.

How did the business start?

There were three main issues stood out that I wanted to address; Rescues do not have a presence in the app stores, chronological order of adoption profiles does not work and there is no central place for rescues to post adoption profiles.

I imagine the app sector is quite a crowded market, but just how competitive is it?

Yeah, the app sector is very competitive and it’s hard to compete against big marketing budgets.

Thankfully, everyone has been very supportive and loves the idea behind it. I just want to do my bit for the animal welfare industry here in Ireland.

Tinder for rescue dogs!!! Find your dream dog!!! A photo posted by rozannapurcell (@rozannapurcell) on

And how’s it all going?

Business has been great since we started up.

There are close to 2,000 users, over 40 rescues, 250 dogs and over 400 adoption applications since the launch of FourPaws in September of this year.

Now comes the time to launch FourClaws app to hopefully recreate some of that success for cats.

What does the future have in store for FourClaws/FourPaws?

We plan on further helping rescues and pet owners through the use of web technology. We’re hoping to change the industry for the greater good with the apps and future plans.

Delighted to say we’ll be bringing our business plan to the Web Summit.


You’re one of the rare and brave breed of young Irish entrepreneurs, do you think more Irish people should go out there on their own or is it a case-by-case basis?

It’s a case-by-case basis, I reckon.

I completely immersed myself into the animal welfare industry, found a problem and created a solution.

I think if you find a specific problem, in any walk of life, technology has made it so easy to come up with a solution.

If you have a solution that works, then go for it.