When Swedish entrepreneur Richard Setterwall struggled to find a sitter for his own dog while he was away on business or vacation, he realized he had stumbled across a potential startup idea.
Three years later and the London-based CEO is at the helm of DogBuddy, an online service designed to help busy dog owners to find reliable local sitters to take care of their animals while they are away.
Already available in six countries including the UK, France and Spain, the concept has just made its way to Scandinavia and launched in Setterwall's home country.
The Swede hopes it will prove popular with both vacation-lovers (in Sweden all employees are entitled to a minimum of 25 days paid holiday a year) and the country's swelling international business community.
“It's a natural step for us to launch our services in Sweden, since I'm born and raised in Stockholm and know the hassle of finding a reliable dog sitter in the city,” Setterwall told The Local.
“It's very simple to find a local and trusted dog sitter for expats too, since the website is available in the major languages – English, Spanish, Italian, French and German alongside Swedish. It's also a great way to meet new friends,” he added.
However the company insists that its core focus is keeping animals safe. It only approves between 10 and 20 percent of all potential dog sitters, with applicants required to carry out a test designed to prove they have the right skills and temperament.
DogBuddy has 250,000 users across Europe. Photo: DogBuddy
DogBuddy's launch in Sweden comes as growing numbers of Swedish companies are seeking to tap into the country's thriving sharing economy, by offering a whole host of services from cleaning to chore-sharing and even sour-dough sitting.
“For me, the sharing economy is about finding flexible, reliable solutions to everyday problems,” said Setterwall.
Sweden has one of the world's fastest-growing startup scenes and boasts the largest number of billion dollar companies per capita outside of Silicon Valley.