Saturday 20 January 2018

Irish start-up HouseMyDog breaks crowdfunding record - hitting 200k target in 36 hours

Brothers Timothy and James McElroy founders of HouseMyDog
Brothers Timothy and James McElroy founders of HouseMyDog
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Irish start-up HouseMyDog has broken a crowdfunding record, hitting its initial target of €200,000 in 36 hours.

This is the fastest funds have ever been raise by an Irish company on one of the UK’s leading crowdfunding platforms.

Some of the happy customers
Some of the happy customers

"We are delighted by the overwhelming response to our crowdfunding campaign. Reaching our target in under 48hrs is something we never expected. We are aiming to hit our total target of €500k on the crowdcube platform," James McElroy, co-founder of HouseMyDog said.

Founded by brothers Timothy and James McElroy when they could not find a reliable sitter for their dog Holly, HouseMyDog enables dog owners looking for alternative to kennels to message a sitter in their area and book and pay for the service online.

"We saw what the likes of Uber and Airbnb had done, and we felt the pet service industry was outdated. From looking at those companies we felt there was an opportunity for the pet industry to be disrupted with tech," Mr McElroy said.

Since its launch HouseMyDog has grown from a small community in Dublin to over 40,000 users, with over 50,000 nights booked.

In addition the company has launched in a number of cities in the UK including London, Liverpool, Manchester, and Edinburgh.

In July this year HouseMyDog acquired its German competitor Schnuff und Co, and the company said it will use this platform as a launch-pad into the German market.

The funds raised on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube will be used to grow the HouseMyDog team, release an app and expand to 12 new European markets.

In terms of the people who look after the dogs, Mr McElroy said there were two types of sitters, half of the sitters do it full-time as a job, and the other half are "just dog lovers",

"Lots of the sitters are people that have moved away from home and miss their dog at home," Mr McElroy said.

Meanwhile for dog owners looking for reassurance about their dogs, the service offers a 24/7 emergency hot line, and in addition all dog sitters are required to go through a "robust" seven step vetting process before they can become sitters on the site.

"We have not had a negative review yet [on the site] which shows our vetting process is really working," Mr McElroy said.

Ultimately HouseMyDog’s mission is to become "your pet homepage" adding additional services, such as walking and daycare as well as pet food and insurance in the coming months,

"People don’t like leaving their dog in a caged environment, the dog is really a member of the family," Mr McElroy said.

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