The U.K.’s myDogBuddy, which offers a marketplace that connects dog owners with local dog sitters, has merged with its Spanish rival Bibulu, to become what it claims is the largest offering of its kind, citing a combined 10,000 local dog sitters registered with the platform. The merger also sees a rebranding of the combined entity to the much simpler DogBuddy.com domain.
In addition, the company has raised a further €1.9 million in funding from several private and institutional investors, including BetaAngels, Caixa Capital Risc, Eversmarter WW, and Andrin Bachmann. It says the new capital will be used to continue to grow in current and new, as yet unnamed, markets and improve its product offering.
I understand that discussions between the two companies actually began in March 2014 and the merger took place the following November, whilst it’s only this week that DogBuddy has chosen to disclose the news, along with the new fundraise and relaunch.
Acting as a typical online marketplace, connecting supply with demand in as frictionless a way as possible, DogBuddy enables dog owners in the U.K., Spain, Italy, France and Germany to easily “find a loving home away from home” for their dogs when they go away on weekends, longer holidays, business trips or have to work long hours. Services offered by dog sitters include walking, day sitting and full board.
The platform lets you browse vetted sitter profiles, look at pictures (including of people’s homes), read customer reviews, and book and pay online. As a further incentive to do so, services booked through DogBuddy are covered by insurance and emergency support. This is a trust play as much as anything else after all.
“After we had experienced strong growth in the U.K. in 2013 I started to look at Europe for expansion and quickly realised that Bibulu was doing a great job in Spain and Italy and was already expanding to France and Germany,” DogBuddy CEO Richard Setterwall tells me. “I reached out to Enrico (founder of Bibulu) and we met up on neutral ground in Paris. We quickly realised it was a great match where we both had the same vision of enhancing and extending dog ownership by creating the highest quality marketplace for dog servicer in Europe.”