Reshaping the ethical sale of pets
PETspot founders Nicholas and Jersey from UTS Business, along with Mathew and Joseph, are reimagining how Australians find their perfect companion by providing a centralised marketplace for the ethical sale of pets.
Recently taking home the People's Choice Award at the inaugural UTS Startups Awards, the team are connecting pets with loving owners.
Give us your elevator pitch – what is your startup?
PETspot aims to be a centralised marketplace for the ethical sale and purchase of pets, providing mutual benefits to both sellers and buyers.
We're passionate about trying to self-regulate the industry to be more ethical by exclusively aligning ourselves with breeders a part of state-approved organisations and ensuring all sellers abide by RSPCA guidelines. On top of this, we want to give the pet-owning community a voice, by providing them with the ability to review breeders and shelters they have visited.
We hope by doing this we can achieve our overall vision of reshaping how Australians find their perfect companion, so pets can have a forever home.
What's the key pain point you're solving for customers? How long have you been working on it?
Our site looks to negate the current inconveniences that exist when finding a pet, by creating a one-stop site similar to the Car Sales model. Imagine being able to view pets for sale near you from both shelters and breeders all on one site.
We've been working on our startup since March 2018, and are currently preparing for our launch in December 2018.
Who's your target audience?
Our target audience consists of both breeders and shelters, as well as Australia's aspiring pet-owners.
Why does your platform matter to buyers?
Solving this is important to buyers because there is currently no platform that provides an easy way to compare available pets from both breeders and shelters, while giving customers the peace of mind that they are buying from an ethical seller.
Why does your platform matter to sellers?
Our platform allows breeders and shelters to increase their exposure and engage with the right customers. For the first time ever, they will have a range of pet-specific features at their disposal. For example, unlike general listing sites, sellers on PETspot can receive bookings directly from customers to see the pet in person. They can also display opening hours, receive direct enquiries and reap the benefits of having detailed user dashboard listing statistics helping track progress.
What was your tipping point that prompted you to actually pursue your idea? What would your advice be to anyone at that tipping point?
The tipping point for us was having genuine discussions with friends and family who were facing the same issues as ourselves when looking for their next pet. So, we decided to take it a step further, and contacted some breeders and shelters to find out more about the sellers point of view, and were surprised to hear the issues they are facing could also be fixed with a centralised platform. It was here that we saw the mutual benefits and potential for PETspot, and the idea was born.
Our advice is to first validate whether the problem space you're tackling definitely exists by talking to others and drawing up a business plan. Lastly, we say "Just go for it!" So many ideas remain dead because of the fear of failing, but you will never know unless you try! Even if you do fail, the things you learn along the way will stay with you forever.
What key challenges have you faced so far? How have you handled these challenges?
Our biggest challenge to date has been getting breeders and shelters on board before our launch date, so that listings are already posted when we go live for the public, whilst simultaneously balancing website building and marketing. This led to the need for strict time schedules and dedication to ensure all areas integral for launch are worked on adequately. This, in conjunction with utilising the different strengths of all four cofounders to improve efficiency, has been challenging.
What key successes have you had so far?
Our first major success was being accepted into the UTS Startups community. It provides us with an amazing network of connections and support to assist us with any challenges we're facing. Through this, we also won the People's Choice Award at the UTS Startups Awards night. Other big successes include establishing strategic partnerships with a popular online vet service, numerous accredited shelters and breeders, and a major pet daycare in Sydney.
What's the next big milestone you're going after? What do you need for it?
Our next big milestone is to achieve a successful launch, so that we become the first choice for people looking for their next companion. To achieve this, we need to continue working on our SEO, as well as a successful marketing campaign to help get our name known Australia-wide. Also, any connections to the pet industry will help us in achieving our goals and would be greatly appreciated.
Who or what inspires you?
What inspires us is starting a company that not only enables us to work on something we are passionate about, but also has the ability to have a positive impact on the greater community. We believe PETspot has the ability to achieve such a greater good, not only for the pet-owning community, but also for the pets themselves.
How should people reach you?
Just like PETspot, so many startups have come out of genuine conversations. Had any interesting conversations recently? Turn that conversation into a startup at startups.uts.edu.au.
By Lourdes Millare, UTS Startups.