Vancouver startup aims to become the Airbnb of petsitting

Sep 22 2017, 12:24 pm

Pet parenting is big business.

Just ask Willson Cross, the CEO and co-founder of GoFetch, a quickly growing online service linking pet parents with reliable boarders, sitters and daycares across Canada.

The Vancouver-based startup, which launched last year in Cross’ basement, now has a full time staff of 20 people. Nearly half have a pet of their own, and Cross himself is the proud owner of Summer, a shih tzu-poodle cross.

Its easy to use website is catching on with pet owners, especially millennials, who are generally more comfortable booking products and services online. They’re also the fastest-growing section of pet owners, according to the CEO. 

GoFetch provider Kathryn and one of her petsitting charges.

GoFetch now operates in more than 15 Canadian cities, including Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver, but Willson has even bigger goals for expansion: He wants GoFetch to be the Airbnb of pet sitting.

“GoFetch is focused on becoming a household brand for Canadian pet parents and we feel we are well on our way to becoming that,” he tells Daily Hive, adding that the company is growing 200% each quarter.

The website picks up where traditional pet sitting and doggy daycare leaves off, and makes ownership easier for those who want to travel without having to fret about their pet’s care.

GoFetch headquarters in Vancouver.

With thousands of vetted providers listed on GoFetch, pet parents can “discover, book and manage” what kind of personalized care they’d like to care for their four-legged friend. That includes options like dog sitting, walking, in-home dog boarding and doggy daycare. 

Dog sitters and boarders post pictures and descriptions of themselves, the care they provide and the accommodation they offer. 

Listers will often include photos of their home and pets, tell you whether or not they have a yard, what green space is nearby, their experience level with animals, what kind of walks your pup can expect, and whether there are other animals in the home. 

Have a high energy dog that needs a lot of exercise? You’ll likely be able to find a pet sitter who loves running and hikes in the mountains. Have a senior dog that prefers to chill on the couch? There are providers that pride themselves on their calm homes and comfy couches. 

Vancouver listings on the GoFetch website.

Similar to Airbnb, you can also see how other verified users have rated their host, and their feedback about the service.

The cost to board a pet on GoFetch is around $25-35 per night, depending on what type of accommodation you choose and what the person offers.

Cross says all of the potential dog sitters and boarders are vetted before being able to list, and GoFetch only accepts 20% of applicants. The website also offers premium pet insurance for all services.

Darcy MathesonDarcy Matheson

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