We catch up with Richard Setterwall, founder of myDogBuddy, the largest online community for dog sitters and dog owners in the UK.
I came up with the idea when... I stepped in to help my sister look after Luca, her six year old Rottweiler as she was struggling to find a trusted and experienced sitter. Kennels were too stressful for Luca and he didn’t cope that well with disruptions to his daily routine. Then I realised there must be thousands of people in the UK with a similar problem, and so in July 2013, after a lot of hard work and research, myDogBuddy was born!
The biggest challenge is... to spread the word and match the supply with the demand, i.e. ensure we have the right liquidity in our marketplace.
The average day is spent... helping our fast-growing user base. We speak to our partners and catch up with our sitters and owners - it's great receiving feedback as it means we can continue to improve our service and product. Of course, my favourite part of the day is when we get to spend some time with the dogs on our site!
The team consists of... me and Maria who focus on brand and business development, and our dedicated team that work with everything from marketing, site development, customer support, and community development.
Our USP is... trust and quality through rigorous vetting processes, insurance coverage, personal customer support and our easy online platform! Our vetting procedure is very thorough, in line with the most rigorous in the industry. We personally interview each and every dog sitter to make sure everyone on the site is a true dog lover and is able to undertake the task at hand. This also includes thorough background checks as well as some home visits. Our partnership with Medivet, one of UK’s largest vet chains, also ensures sitters provide the best care possible.
In five years we’d like to be... providing the most qualitative dog boarding service in the industry, as well as being the "go-to" marketplace for all your dog care needs across Europe.
Our best piece of advice for gaining investment... is to look to those closest to you for advice! I used my personal network and the network of friends and advisors for help. Start by creating a long list of potential investors and then work to generate connections, either via personal contacts or attend many of the great start-up or business angel networks. It’s important, however, to remember that your focus should be on driving your business instead of drowning in investor requests.
Our biggest mistake and what it taught us... Don’t underestimate the work involved. If you believe you need to do two tasks to reach a goal, do four because it will be necessary.
The most rewarding experience we’ve had to date... is being able to find loving care for all our dogs every day. It is a great feeling when we know we have helped form a lasting bond between a sitter and owner. We know just how hard finding suitable care is so it’s hugely rewarding when we can help and we love hearing all the positive feedback we get from dog owners. It's simply amazing to provide a service that improves the life for dogs!
16 April 2014