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Leaving Charlie was more than a pet peeve, it was a trust issue this founder needed to resolve

Denham Sadler /

The hardest part about regularly travelling interstate for work for Deb Morrison was leaving behind her beloved dog Charlie.

She often struggled to find a good home for the pampered Maltese, with family living far away and kennels seeming too “cold and inflexible”.

“I just thought this process has to be online,” Morrison tells StartupSmart.

After searching around she was unable to find an online platform where she trusted enough to use for Charlie, so she decided to create her own.

Connecting local animal lovers

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For months Morrison worked on PetCloud after hours while still working full-time, and has now made the plunge into startup life.

PetCloud is an online platform connecting busy pet owners with members of the local community that will look after the much-loved furry members of the family.

Users can search by location and the specific needs of their pet, and then get a map with pins on it. It’s free to create a listing and to meet-up with the potential sitter. If it goes ahead, payment will be transferred to the sitter 24 hours after it has occurred, and the startup takes a 15% commission.

The startup, which is based in Brisbane, has partnered with RSPCA QLD and worked closely with its experts to ensure the platform is safe.

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“They’ve been so, so supportive in terms of running through the platform with all their vets, animal inspectors, foster care staff and trainers,” Morrison says.

“All the questions are from a sitter and owner perspective to make sure the welfare of the animals is really taken care of.”

A focus on safety

It’s not the first company to offer the service, but Morrison says her startup’s focus on safety and learning sets it apart, and is backed by $20 million in insurance cover and police background checks.

“I was shocked to learn that a lot of other websites don’t take responsibility for it,” Morrison says.

“They use their website as an introductory platform then stand back and say the rest is up to you. Basically their signup process is: ‘Do you have two arms and two legs? Great! You can be a pet sitter’.

“What the other players don’t realise is that you are actually taking care of someone’s furry family member.”

To ensure safety and peace of mind, PetCloud offers GPS tracking of the pets and smartphone alerts when they’re in the care of others.

The platform also serves as an educational platform and portal for all aspects of your pet’s life.

“It’s different from any other competitor out there,” she says. “People can learn about what’s involved with responsible pet care, and while we offer the core pet sitting, you’re also able to have everything to do with your pet’s life in one place.”

Do you know more on this story or have a tip of your own? Raising capital or launching a startup? Let us know. Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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Denham Sadler

Denham Sadler is a former editor of StartupSmart. He was previously a journalist at the publication and has worked as a freelancer for the Guardian, the Saturday Paper and the ABC. In his spare time he likes puns and jaffles.

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