Founders of start-up share how Shad experience shaped their business
More than 10 years after attending Shad at two-different universities, twins Vino and Vijay Jeyapalan were energized to apply what they learned during the real-world design challenge at a moment when it mattered most to them.
In 2008, twins Vino and Vijay Jeyapalan had their first taste of entrepreneurship during Shad’s real-world design challenge.
And more than ten years later, they are now entrepreneurs after facing a real-world problem in their own lives.
“We applied something that was a fundamental at Shad,” says Vino. “You have this problem, and you have to try and think of a hypothesis and present the best solution to combat that problem, regardless of how crazy that idea is.”
Vino and Vijay are the founders of Kabo Fresh Dog Food, a dog food subscription service that delivers healthy, pre-portioned meals right to their customers’ doors.
In 2018, their dog Kabo—“the fluffiest chow chow you’ll ever meet”—passed away from stomach cancer.
“We dug in a bit deeper as to why our companions don’t live as long as we think they should. We started learning that food has a huge factor in it,” says Vino. “Most of 2018, we spent a lot our time trying to think if our mission is going to be helping dogs live a longer and happier life, where does that come from and how can we find that solution.”
They spent the year figuring out how to create the best dog food formula possible through partnerships with PHD pet nutritionists and hired a Shad alum to help during this market research phase.
“We reached out to dog owners and talked to them on the phone one-by-one and it was amazing to hear about how much anxiety dog owners had similar to our experience when our dog was very sick,” says Vijay.
They quickly found the answer—high quality, human grade, freshly cooked food—and they even tested it out themselves.
“If it’s safe enough for me, it’s going to be safe enough for a dog,” says Vino.
Since launching the business, they’ve served over 40,000+ meals in Canada and have a total of 10 employees supporting the mission.
“When we look at our team, it is probably one of the most diverse teams you’ll see both traditional and non-traditional related to developing pet food, but people who come with backgrounds like tech and understanding things like perishable products and sourcing local ingredients,” says Vino.
Before Kabo, Vino and Vijay both worked at Facebook and then shifted into another business together to help start-ups acquire more customers on social media platforms.
Vino says they learned about the value of diverse teams “from our experience at Shad, where we had people from all across the country with different backgrounds and even different interests in terms of where they wanted to take their career.”
Kabo is currently available in Ontario and the Greater Vancouver area. Vino and Vijay hope to service all of Canada before the end of the year.
And this means that they’re constantly on the move—a perk that offers unanticipated flashbacks to their summer full of learning and friendship.
“Shads are all over the country,” says Vino. “The first thing you do when you move to a new place is wonder who lives here. You end up finding a close friend from a long time ago.”