Startup Showcase: Tailster

Indy Sangha, CEO of Tailster, talks about how his pet care service uses GPS and real time data to give owners piece of mind and how Brexit might impact his company

Each week we profile a tech startup, find out more about their business and what its plans are for the future. This week, we spoke to Indy Sangha, CEO of pet walking and caring app Tailster.

What is your company and what do you do? is an online pet care marketplace that connects pet owners with people who can look after their pet for a range of services. Using Tailster’s site or mobile apps, we make it easy for a pet owner to find dog boarding, dog sitting, dog walking, cat sitting or small animal care. All it takes is 30 seconds of telling us what you need, and our platform does all the hard work bringing back to you personalised options usually within the hour.

With more than 11,000 pet carers across the UK (anyone can apply to be a carer on Tailster but only one in six is approved), we are confident we can give you options quickly. We’ve got professionals and those just starting out as dog walkers – 80 percent of our bookings are with walkers that were never paid to walk a dog prior to Tailster.

Already the largest dog walking business in the UK, we make it easy for you to find care, pay online, make use of our complimentary pet insurance/emergency vet fee cover, and provide full accountability – with our GPS tracked walks, maps and real time photo updates, you’ll know that your pet has received the care you’ve paid for.

Tell us a little about your career to date?

tailster-carer-app-1Prior to setting up Tailster, I spent almost 7 years as a startup VC investing in a range of businesses across the creative, media and internet spectrum. Prior to that, for my sins and to keep my father happy, I qualified as a Chartered Accountant at a big four firm.

Seven years of meeting some impressive founders and entrepreneurs, backing some great business ideas, and some not so great – I was lucky enough to experience the peaks and troughs of running early stage businesses alongside founders. Whilst I wasn’t involved in the direct running of these businesses, sometimes needs must and I’d be drafted in to fix things or get my hands dirty – I enjoyed that just as much as meeting entrepreneurs and seeing great ideas.

In 2014, I needed to scratch that itch, and left my job to set up Tailster.

In order for something to succeed, we have to fix a problem or make life easier, building Tailster in a £3.5 billion UK size marketplace seemed like a challenge worth taking! The goal is big – we’d like Tailster to become the trusted petcare marketplace in the UK and Europe.

In order to execute on ambitious plans, we need the best possible team, and I’ve been building a great team and set of supportive investors that I am confident can help us achieve this.

Tell us one thing your company does that no one else can do?

Pet care may seem rather innocuous or a niche market – but pet owners spend over £3 billion per year on boarding, sitting and walking services. This is not impulse spend, nor us trying to create a new market. This money is spent every day by pet owners. They need to spend this but the whole process is currently cumbersome and fraught with risk and guilt.

We looked at the dog walking industry – it’s not changed in over 30 years – still predominantly paid in cash, reliant on trust, and a service that dog owners need to pay for. We felt that technology and good old customer service should be applied to the space, especially in an era where cashless payment and GPS tracking is rife in multiple apps whether you are ordering a cab, or ordering a takeaway meal.

With Tailster, you receive wonderful maps with the route your dog took, so you know that they went to the park you know they like, plus you’ll know what time they left the house and what time they were returned safely so you know you’ve got the hour you’ve paid for. All of this is wrapped up in an elegant solution where we handle all online payment and all customer service – once a dog owner experiences our walking product, it’s very difficult to go back!

Dog walkers can use the product to demonstrate they are reliable with reviews and ratings, and rack up ‘Tailster miles’ which helps then win more business through our apps and site.

We’ve already tracked 18,000 km of dog walks, which is the equivalent of London to China.

Tailster talks tech, Brexit and why talent might move to Berlin on page 2…