Announcing StartPup: A Competition for Startups with Dogs

May 11, 2016

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Meryl Ayres


This post was co-authored by Jenny Mudarri and Meryl Ayres

Studies suggest that office dogs can reduce stress, improve retention rates, and contribute to a more casual environment. At Wistia, we’re thankful for our own office dog, Lenny, who adds a touch of humor to our work weeks.

In celebration of all the hard-working pups out there, we’re incredibly excited to be teaming up with Humane Society International to host a unique competition for other startups with beloved, canine teammates. Announcing … 

About the contest

In order to enter the contest, all you have to do is shoot a short video about your very own office pooch and send it our way! If your pup wins the grand prize, you’ll get:

  • Free premium plan from Wistia, for life!
  • $500 donation to a local Humane Society branch
  • GoPro camera
  • GoPro dog mount (for your dog to record his or her travels around the office)
  • Wistia dog bandana
  • Frisbee

If your dog is RunnerPup, you’ll receive:

  • $300 donation to a local Humane Society Branch
  • Wistia bandana
  • Frisbee

The organizers are looking to celebrate #StartPup from each of the following major startup centers (however, startups in locations not included in this list are also eligible to enter):

  • Berlin, Germany
  • Boston, USA
  • London, UK
  • Los Angeles, USA
  • New York City, USA
  • Paris, France
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Silicon Valley, USA
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Tel Aviv, Israel

Who’s judging?

Marta Sjörgen, Northzone

Marta Sjögre is an investor with Northzone, the early investors in Spotify, Avito, Trustpilot, and over 100 other tech companies. Marta’s focus areas include gaming, deep social, edtech, and security, and her interest in VC stems from a passion for innovation and a desire to make an impact in the world. Prior to VC, she was a researcher and strategy consultant, working with governments to shape entrepreneurial policy. Her welsh corgi, Katherine (aka Käffi), is six months old, and is currently working on befriending her cat.

Tamara Kartal, Humane Society International/UK

Tamara Kartal is the Campaigns Coordinator for Humane Society International/UK, and is working in the field of street animal welfare. She has an 8-year-old female dog called Jazz, who is proudly the HSI office dog, and enjoys the daily treats and affection the office environment has to offer.

Chris Lavigne, Wistia

Chris Lavigne is Head of Video Production at Wistia and best friend of Lenny Lavigne, a brownish-reddish labradoodle who loves baby carrots. In a bid to gainfully employ his Dog, Chris found Lenny a job at Wistia, where he helps with recruitment, acts as on-screen video talent, and occasionally writes for the blog. Chris is known for coining the term “lighting on the fly,” and thrives on using creativity to work around constraints (think ’video for boring industries’). When he’s not camera-in-hand, you can find him behind the wheel of a backhoe, drinking whisky, or reciting lines from Jurassic Park (in any order).

More on Lenny, our own StartPup

Like every dog, Lenny has his own idiosyncrasies that separate him from the rest. For starters, Lenny opens sliding doors like a human — he frequently interrupts meetings and leaves without giving notice. Lenny barks at seltzer machines, drones, and our motorized projection screen. He hacks up hairballs at inopportune times and sports a devilishly handsome beard. But don’t just take our word for it. Take a look at what other Wistians have to say about this labradoodle:

For more context around who Lenny really is, you can read a candid op-ed piece he wrote, all about his daily motivations, biggest regrets, and dreams for a future full of crumbs.

May 11, 2016

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Meryl Ayres


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