From Startup Weekend to $300M in 5 years

Today's hack
How this guy managed to turn his Startup Weekend idea into a $300M business...

The hardest service to start is a marketplace.
No matter how cool your tech is, your marketplace makes no sense without 2 types of audiences: sellers and buyers.
You need to somehow get them and grow simultaneously.

Today I’ll tell you how Rover.com - a marketplace for pet sitters and dog walkers - managed to grow into a $300 million company in 5 years.


1. In June 2011, a developer, Philip Kimmey, suggested the concept for Rover in the Seattle Startup Weekend contest. And became the winner.

2. Greg Gottesman a managing director at a VC firm, who attended the contest, shared the idea with Aaron Easterly, a dog lover, and a 15-year tech veteran with a focus on online marketplaces. Aaron became CEO and Greg became a board member.

3. They chose a simple business model - 15% fee per transaction (later risen to 20%).

4. Getting the first people into the marketplace was all about asking friends and family.

5. Then they started to attend Seattle dog parks and dog events.

6. The next thing they did was work on existing dog communities (offline and online on various social networks).

7. From the very beginning they set a high bar for sitters. They only approve 20% of applicants.

8. They first began connecting sitters in Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, then expanded to all 50 states in 2012.

9. Then they discovered that many people started going to their sitters and asking for other services for their pets.
9.2. Based on that finding, they decided to expand to all kinds of pet services: sitting, grooming, daycare services, etc.

Results:
Top sitters now pull in $2,000-$5,000 per month.
10,000 new members join every week.
90% of hosts who have ever received a booking are still bookable on the site.
95% of sitters receive a 5-star rating.
90% of their users have recommended the service to others.
2700% year-over-year growth in the business.

Source: cmxhub.com


Cheers,
Charlie Patel ;)

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