AirTree Ventures

Reigning cats and dogs a boon for Pawshake




JANUARY 16, 2016 12:00AM


A Pawshake survey late last year of 549 registered pet owners on its platform confirmed the importance of pets to their owners.

It found 96 per cent missed their pets when they were away and that 38 per cent even skyped or Facetimed them.

It also found 90 per cent of pet owners were prepared to postpone or cancel their holiday if they could not find suitable pet­ care. Almost half said owning a pet had made their social life and relationship more challenging and 71 per cent said they considered their pets’ welfare when making a significant purchase such as a house or car. Nearly two-thirds of owners said they ­allowed their pets to sleep in bed with them.

“There is lots of opportunity to increase the abundance. We want a sitter on every street corner in Australia. But we need to make sure we have the right people on the platform,” Mr Peers said.

“Next year we will double down on the Pawshake mobile app — 25 per cent of our traffic is currently coming from the mobile app and we expect that to double next year.”

AirTree Ventures is a $60m venture capital fund focused on investing in growth-stage businesses that are disrupting traditional markets. AirTree partner Craig Blair, who along with Mr Petre — a former ecorp and Fairfax Media executive — have been investing in technology businesses for more than 15 years, said they were big believers in marketplace solutions.

“We can measure marketplace quality and Pawshake is one of the highest-quality marketplace models you can find,” he said.

“We look at all of our companies and the things we care about are monthly growth rates — we look for 10 per cent month on month (revenue growth) in a sustainable way. Pawshake has been doing 25 per cent month on month since we invested.”

Mr Blair said entrepreneurs were now making “real incremental revenues” out of online marketplaces established to solve specific challenges. “This (Pawshake) is a good example of where marketplaces are fragmenting — where you are getting specific marketplaces trying to solve specific ­issues,” he said. “Some marketplaces are going to be global from day one and Australians will benefit. But some are naturally local. And this is one where you need to be very local. That is a great opportunity for Australian entrepreneurs to exploit.”