Are you an animal lover? Here's an interesting way of adding to your income.
Pawshake is the 'Airbnb for pet sitting' according to co-founder Tanguy Peers, who told BIT that most of the sitters on the platform earn up to $1000 a month.
Rates start at $10 a day, with sitters free to set their own prices.
Services offered via Pawshake range from dog walking through cat and dog sitting to "doggy day care" and pet boarding.
Day care is "our fastest line of business growth," said Peers. That's because people don't want to leave their pets alone while they are at work, he explained. "Pets have become part of the family."
For animal lovers, this can be "a fun way to make some extra income," he said.
Alternatively, it can be a way of having pets just at the weekend when you have time to be with them.
A good proportion of owners also register as sitters because "they want to have a playdate for their pets," Peers explained.
As for the question of trust, the company manually vets (sorry!) would-be sitters, and owners must meet their chosen sitters before they can make bookings. Since sitters and owners are generally in the same neighbourhood there is a degree of "social control" as well as the usual system of online reviews. The average rating is 4.9 out of 5, so clearly "people are really happy."
Pawshake started in Belgium and expanded into Australia in 2014. "We knew Australia would be interested because it's a country of early adopters" and people are inclined to spend money on their pets.
There are now some 6000 sitters and 100,000 owners on the platform in this country, but there is still "a large opportunity" as there are 7.5 million dogs and cats in Australia and the main competition comes from owners' friends and families.