The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Happy Hounds Doggy Day Care to Crowdfund Loan for New Location

By Paul Biasco | April 15, 2014 8:21am
 Jorge Segovia, owner of Happy Hounds in Lincoln Park, plays with the dogs at his doggie day care center.
Jorge Segovia, owner of Happy Hounds in Lincoln Park, plays with the dogs at his doggie day care center.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Paul Biasco

LINCOLN PARK — A Lincoln Park doggy day care center is looking to the community to help fund a $20,000 loan for a second location.

Jorge Segovia opened Happy Hounds four years ago to provide an alternative to the larger scale day care centers.

He has been trying to expand to a second location for about a year and has had no luck with banks.

Banks "are nuts. It's crazy," Segovia said. "When we started having problems with the economy, the banks, to give you a loan, they want a kidney and an eye from you."

Paul Biasco talks to DNAinfo Radio to talk about Happy Hounds' fundraising efforts:

Segovia instead is running a campaign through Chicago-based LendSquare, a crowdfunding platform that lets community members and small investors finance small-business loans.

"We are trying to take the next step," Segovia said.

The current Happy Hounds is in a storefront at 2521 N. Lincoln Ave.

Segovia is a certified trainer and groomer and is finishing his certification for animal CPR. Before he opened Happy Hounds he was an engineer at Nestle.

While working at Nestle, he was taking a vacation and found out one of his dogs had been attacked while staying at a dog hotel.

Segovia decided to make a difference for animals and began volunteering at rescue organizations and providing free dog-training courses.

"Normally these kinds of day cares, they are big. They have a lot of dogs, so there is more quantity than quality," Segovia said. "When you forget about quality it's just a mess."

For the second location of Happy Hounds, Segovia is considering the Gold Coast, Bucktown, Lincoln Park and Wrigleyville.

As of Monday afternoon, he had raised $1,600 of the $20,000 through the LendSquare platform.

Investors in the company would be repaid over a two-year period at an interest rate set by an auction process.

Individual investors set a rate they would be willing to accept, and if the campaign reaches the $20,000 goal, the highest rate entered becomes the set interest.

"We are always trying to give the business the best possible deal," said Jose Valdes, who co-founded LendSquare with Sebastian Villarreal in 2012. "You are paying back your customers rather than paying the bank."

LendSquare has helped seven businesses obtain crowdfunded loans ranging from a $7,000 loan to Hyde Park-based Open Produce to a $200,000 loan to Bow Truss coffee roasters.

“People who invest in the business feel like they are part of the business," Valdes said. “It’s a very nice cycle, and the money stays in the community.”