The latest UKTN Podcast is out now. This week’s guest is Mathew Prior, CEO and co-founder of TrustedHousesitters, a pet-sitting network.
Launched in 2010, the Brighton-headquartered company has created a community platform that matches up pet owners going on holiday with pet sitters who want to look after a furry companion.
“Increasingly, the idea that people will just go and deposit their pet in a kennel or a cattery is becoming a bit obsolete,” Prior told UKTN Podcast host Mark McDonagh.
The concept is similar to the early community-led, sofa-surfing days of Airbnb. While Prior recognises the similarities, he believes that TrustedHousesitters has a “much better business” than the US homestay rental company.
Prior says that the company “prioritises community over commerce” and that he thinks TrustedHousesitters is more “sustainable” and “ethical” than Airbnb.
TrustedHousesitters now has 85,000 members on its platform, which has orchestrated more than four million nights of pet sitting across 130 countries.
Both pet owners – or “parents” – and pet sitters pay an annual subscription fee to join. Prior explains how the company grew to that size and the importance of having a strong community to build “trust equity” on both sides of the marketplace.
He also shares how its customer behaviours have changed, and the growth of opportunity from pet ownership increasing during pandemic lockdowns, coupled with the reopening of international travel.
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The UKTN Podcast is sponsored by Uncapped, which provides no-equity investments from £10,000 to £5m to the founders and companies who are changing the world.