With Google Campus and the establishment of several incubators in Barcelona and Madrid, some people in Spain obviously see the IT development sector as a possible solution to the ongoing economic crisis. As the mYouth program progressed through the spring and summer, several promising teams were identified, and one of these was selected to join the mYouth training camp this summer in Skopje. Juan Antonio Cobos, Juan Jesús Cilla, and Lucia Tahan met for the first time at the Madrid Hackathon and are creating an online platform to find temporary and permanent homes for otherwise neglected animals. We had a conversation with the team of Find me a home to hear about their app and their experiences.
Mladiinfo: What were your motivations to start this project?
“Find me a home” team: So many animals are abandoned and neglected. We wanted to offer an alternative so people can find anything from someone to look after their cat while they are on holidays to a nearby volunteer to help them rescue a stray dog that they have just spotted in the street. Meanwhile, people who are interested in adopting but are not yet sure can open up their homes to an animal in need temporarily instead of adopting and then abandoning. We also want to help shelters find adoption families to “rehome” their animals, dynamically network with independent foster homes, and join the collaborative economy to fund their services. Any animal that needs care and a roof should be able to find it easily and quickly, and we want to make that possible. Thinking that fewer animals will be homeless is what keeps us working hard.
Mladiinfo: How have you taken advantage of mYouth to make your project become a reality?
“Find me a home” team: Find me a home started at an mYouth Hackathon in Madrid. We did not know each other before and went to the hackathon to contribute to a better world with our individual skills. We were happy to find other animal lovers among the participants and so we quickly started to develop an idea for an app to help animals. Juan Antonio had identified a need in the animal rescue organization where he works to find foster homes and share tips about how to care for rescued animals. We were also all familiar with the sense of hopelessness you feel when you see a stray animal you cannot take home. From this need, we developed Find me a home to be a centralized network for foster homes, sitters and adoption families to open up their homes to animals in need.
Mladiinfo: At what stage of development is your project right now?
“Find me a home” team: From the initial idea just four months ago at the Hackathon, we have come a long way. We are very excited to have launched our Beta product in July 2016 and to see the interest the product is generating. We are now working at full speed to add the remaining features we have planned to make the app the best platform for animal rehoming on the market. High-quality content and a polished UI are also things we are working hard on, as we are designing it to foster trust between people. At the same time, we are working hard to grow our user base. Because the product idea is new and unique, we need to educate users and build a community. We are all learning a lot along the way and it has been a very exciting journey so far.
Mladiinfo: Spain has seen some tough times economically over the past few years. Looking beyond your own work, how is the ecosystem in Spain for mobile application development?
Even though the startup ecosystem is not very strong in Spain, recently Madrid and Barcelona have started to position themselves as tech centers. There are a few incubators, and Madrid is one of six cities worldwide that have a Google Campus to support startup development. However, funding and venture capital are still in their very early stages and most startups seek funding abroad or develop with barely any support thanks to the relatively low cost of living and labor. In the near future, once the ecosystem matures a bit further, we are confident that we will see many local Spanish startups expanding internationally.
In Spain, like in many other places, the culture around mobile application development has started to take foot. With programs like mYouth and others, the next few years could be very exciting. The participants have further on the chance to compete at European Youth Award.
Find me a home is available to download from the Google Play Store.
For more information visit: www.findmeahome.org or watch the Youtube video Find me a home — The app for rehoming animals.
Interview by: Diego Heatherman