Shaper: Richard Setterwall

Show aired on 1st November 2014

Transcript of the show

Elliot Moss
That was Busted to get you in the mood this morning here on Jazz FM’s Jazz Shapers from Ray Charles of course. And from Ray Charles to me, Elliot Moss, thank you very much for joining me for another edition of Jazz Shapers, the place where you can hear the very best of the people shaping the world of jazz, soul and blues alongside their equivalents in the world of business; a business shaper. My business shaper today is Richard Setterwall. He is the founder of My Dog Buddy which you are going to hear lots about very shortly and interesting it is too. In addition to hearing from Richard, you will be hearing from our programme partners at Mischon De Reya some words of advice for your business and on top of all of that of course some wonderful music from the shapers of jazz, blues and soul, from Astrud Gilberto, John Lee Hooker and this from Dr John.

That was How Come My Dog Don’t Bark (When You Come Around) from Dr John. See what we did there! Richard Setterwall is my business shaper and he is from My Dog Buddy. What is My Dog Buddy people will be saying I wonder what that could be. Richard thank you for joining me, what is My Dog Buddy?

Richard Setterwall
First of all thank you very much for inviting me to this show, it is very exciting. My Dog Buddy I would like to sort of start with you know, everyone is talking about the humanisation trend of dogs nowadays. So you treat your dog as your sort of baby, you give them organic food etc., so what we know is that fifty percent rely on family and friends when they go away and about twenty percent leave their dogs in a kennel however forty three percent of people actually relying on family and friends are not really comfortable doing that and more than fifty percent of people leaving the dogs in a kennel feels sort of that the dog is anxious when it comes back. So what we are doing is really solving a real problem. Sort of connecting dog owners with trusted and insured sort of dog sitters that we sort of fully vet and make sure they have the proper experience.

Elliot Moss
Wow so you’ve got a hundred percent of dogs are going to be one hundred percent happy with a hundred percent of people that take them on. That’s what it is all about.

Richard Setterwall
Yes exactly. That is what we are doing.

Ellliot Moss
I love that. You are a very precise man Richard with all those brilliant percentages. Now this business has been going how long? It’s just over a year or so? Is that right?

Richard Setterwall
We launched in July 2013.

Elliot Moss
Okay so literally just over the year.

Richard Setterwall
Yes.

Elliot Moss
Now you are a young man which is a good thing to say I think and hopefully you feel like a young man. You started the world of business in the consultancy world, the consultancy industry so you I think if I am right you started at McKenzie then you ended up at PWC. I have met a few people who have become entrepreneurs, quite a few on this programme actually who have started in the consultancy world. Why do you think it was a good beginning? We will come on to why you made the shift but what has it given you do you think as you look back now on those first few years of your career?

Richard Setterwall
Of course working as a management consultant sort of you know, taught me a lot of things and first of all I think it is about being structured, being very executionable. Sort of being planned in one way but also very analytical but that is also you know some times you can of course lose a little bit of the passion sort of that it gives you. I really enjoyed doing what I did back then but I really felt that you know I want to sort of follow my own passion as well. So in terms of what it gave me it is sort of tonnes of experiences with sort of helping others to build their businesses.

Elliot Moss
And serious robust business problems to solve I imagine as well?

Richard Setterwall
Absolutely. Problem solving is in the core of sort of a management consultant I would say and that also goes back to my – I am an engineer.

Elliot Moss
I thought all those percentages were coming from somewhere.

Richard Setterwall
I know I am sorry about that.

Elliot Moss
I knew it, he builds things. This is what this guy does. He is a proper engineer.

Richard Setterwall
Yes.

Elliot Moss
Find out lots more from my business shaper, Richard Setterwall, the founder of My Dog Buddy, a clever idea too here on Jazz Shapers. Time for some more music; this is The Shadow Of Your Smile from the one and only Astrud Gilberto.

You are probably in a trance right now if you are enjoying that as I was; Astrud Gilberto and The Shadow Of Your Smile. Richard Setterwall is my business shaper today and he is the founder of My Dog Buddy, a very natty idea that puts dog owners with dogs, forty three percent of whom look like they may be stressed according to their owners and I am sure that my source is correct because it is Richard Setterwall.

Richard Setterwall
It’s fifty one percent.

Elliot Moss
Fifty one, I am so sorry. You see the engineer talks. So we were talking before Richard, you are an engineer, you became a management consultant. Tonnes of precision, tonnes of analytical ability, tonnes of ability to solve problems but not necessarily entrepreneurial stock and yet here you are, you’ve set up not just one business but two, we will talk about the first one in a moment but what do you think helped you make that leap? From becoming the employee to essentially the employer.

Richard Setterwall
So being an employee of course is a very secure environment in one way. So I would say that sort of what helped me was I was actually recruited in to a start-up which is called Job Along at first. And then I sort of had the courage to sort of take the full step into starting up my own business and then of course follow my own passion.

Elliot Moss
So the Job Along thing, just to jump back. Sorry to talk over you. The Job Along thing where did that come from? How did the opportunity arise and what was that business about?

Richard Setterwall
So I was thinking because at that time I was starting up the strategy division for PWC in the Nordic region and at that time I sort of your know we helped other start-ups and other companies a lot with sort of you know, shaping their businesses. So I realised I wanted to do something else and I had sort of started to talk to my network and then I had a friend that were going to start up or had invested in a company where they were looking for someone to sort of lead that company forward.

Elliot Moss
And why did they choose Richard Setterway of all the people in the world?

Richard Setterwall
That’s a very good question. No but at the time I think sort of they were impressed by what I had achieved in my career so far sort of having started the PWC strategy division from two people at the time to sixteen people and it became sort of a successful division within PWC.

Elliot Moss
Looking back now and as you have moved from being you know, the parachuted in CEO on to now setting up your own business. Have you now started, and the engineer’s mind is extraordinary when it works super well, the left – probably more strongly on the left side but you would argue creative to. Is it quite a lot about simple things like personality though and care and warmth and things that may be you haven’t had to quantify as it were in the way that an engineer normally would? As you now look a year later, how important are those other skills in creating and then running your own business?

Richard Setterwall
Absolutely. It is all about the soft values, for us it is all about trust. We want to provide, sort the options out and when people go on to the website they want to read reviews, look at pictures etc. So for me it is of course very important that I am a passionate dog lover. I own a dog myself, you know, a care of dogs.

Elliot Moss
What dog do you have? What sort is your dog?

Richard Setterwall
At the moment I don’t own a dog. I used to care for my sister Rottweiler which is my favourite breed. I had a golden retriever before and you know nice dogs. Rottweiler is a little bit sort of tougher you had to work out a lot with them. But that is what I like as well.

Elliot Moss
And the people aspect now as you recruit people, are you looking – you are obviously looking for like-minded people?

Richard Setterwall
Absolutely and the first question of course – do you love dogs?

Elliot Moss
Yeah.

Richard Setterwall
So for us it is all about, we need – because we put sort of a personal touch into everything we do and for us you know in order to do so it so naturally you know, it is kind of hard if you don’t like dogs. Because we are around dogs all the day. All the time. It’s nice.

Elliot Moss
Find out more from my business shaper as we talk to him further. That’s Richard Setterwall the founder of My Dog Buddy. In the meantime though, latest travel in a couple of minutes and before that, some words of wisdom I hope for your business from our program partners at Mishcon De Reya.

You are listening to Jazz Shapers with me, Elliot Moss every Saturday morning you can join me when I talk to a brilliant business shaper, someone who is shaping the world of business and if you don’t manage to catch me on a regular basis but you would like to listen to the other people that I have interviewed along the way, go into iTunes, put in the words Jazz and Shapers and you will find us there. Or if you are flying on British Airways I urge you, go on to the High Life channel on you will find Jazz Shapers also in that place. Richard Setterwall is my business shaper; he is the founder of My Dog Buddy, a clever idea as I said of matching those people who want to go on holiday when they have a dog with other people who are very happy to take on a doggy for a bit of time and as he corrected me earlier, fifty one percent of those dogs according to their owners might look a bit stressed so if you are a doggy owner you can find a way of de-stressing them. Now Richard, the engineer, the analyst, now the entrepreneur. It is very early on in your journey obviously. What struck you about actually running your own gig? What are the first few things that have hit you like a ten tonne truck and you had to deal with? What are they?

Richard Setterwall
I think when I first – because at the time I was looking after my sister’s Rottweiler a lot so then realised because when I couldn’t do it, she you know had to find alternatives it was really hard especially you know, if you have a Rottweiler. She left it in the kennel once you know, it came back very stressed and anxious as I said, fifty one percent of dogs seem to do that. And then I realised there has to be thousands of people out there that would love to take care of a Rottweiler that don’t have you know, a dog themselves or they have a dog and want a play mate for their dog.

Elliot Moss
But you have set this up now so what has it been since you set it up and you got it going – what are the stresses that you have encountered? Not the doggies at this point.

Richard Setterwall
Oh not the doggies. I am too focussed.

Elliot Moss
The Richards. You are I love it. He’s so passionate about that doggy, he’s I want to solve their problem. You are still here smiling so it is obviously going very well but this first, I imagine, year one and a bit of business, stuff’s happened?

Richard Setterwall
Absolutely.

Elliot Moss
How have you coped?

Richard Setterwall
I would say that the biggest problem is us with other market places. It is sort of creating the liquidity. So we need to find a number of dog sitters, people who are wanting to care for dogs to match with the demand of the dog owners that go on to the website. So that they find someone you know close by. And initially you know, we didn’t even have a website. I actually went around talking to all the local veterinary clinics, all the local pet shops as well as you know, trying to find who are the best dog sitters in sort of London where we started. So then it was just a lot of face-to-face meeting with those people to try to get them on board even though as I said we didn’t even have the website up back in the days.

Elliot Moss
That must have been very hard?

Richard Setterwall
It was very very hard and we learnt so much on the way talking to all those people because at the same time we also of course want to solve as many problems for the dog sitters as possible even though the initial focus was sort of to, you know increase the welfare of dogs and you know, supporting the dog owners when they needed sort of help. So that is probably the biggest sort of issue initially. Now it’s the word of mouth takes care of most of it. We get sort of thousands of people signing up to become dog sitters every week.

Elliot Moss
And all the other parts of it, you know the emergency support, the insurance that you do, the secure on-line booking system – all those bits. There’s a lot of detail and a lot of process involved. I imagine that has been less difficult for you because you seem as I mentioned earlier, a relatively precise kind of fellow so have you found that more transactional and easier versus the ‘how do I find the right partners’ and then ‘how do I get the amplification and my message out’? Is that fair?

Richard Setterwall
Yes absolutely. So for me that was sort of a list of twenty things we had to do. You know some of them of course took a half year to a year to actually sort of get down with it, for example, setting up dog insurance. That was really sort of hard but we managed to do so and for us, as I said, all being about trust it is extremely important that we have all those parts into it so a very rigorous vetting process. Initially we worked with Tim Vos which was the chief officer of the RSPCA so he approached us and he had really good input. Now we work with Miranda Luck which is sort of an animal welfare consultant. Consulting sort of animal rehoming centres to make sure that we have a sort of a really robust vetting process.

Elliot Moss
It sounds incredibly robust and I am sure there will be other things you are going to…

Richard Setterwall
I hope so.

Elliot Moss
…I hope, we all hope so, so those doggies can be happy because I can tell that is your primary concern. Time for some music and this is the really gentle and beautiful song from Madeleine Peyroux, I’m Alright.

Madeleine Peyroux and I’m Alright, if that doesn’t relax you nothing will today. Richard Setterwall is my business shaper and we have been talking about not just doggies’ trials and tribulations but your own trials and tribulations and it sounds like you’ve sort of got out unscathed. It’s eighteen months in now to your new business. Do you think you are out of phase one or are you still very much in the thick of the setting the thing up and it being slightly chaotic and other things and unexpected surprises happening or are you feeling a bit more settled now?

Richard Setterwall
A little more settled even though you know in a start-up there is always a lot of unexpected events of course like that’s sort of the daily – on a daily basis that’s what we do. But then again, yeah we are moving now into the next phase so now we are looking at sort of okay how then to expand. Now we have the sort of operations in place, its working you know, dog owners love it, we have really really high sort of customer ratings but as of now as I said, it’s just taking what we have and just get the word out there to sort of help as many dog owners, dogs and dog sitters as possible.

Elliot Moss
Where do you go for advice Richard because I mean ownership and leadership can be two very lonely places?

Richard Setterwall
Absolutely. I would say that most of our investors and those seasoned investors all have you know, very sort of relevant knowledge and experience so I had a lot of discussions with investors and then I also have advisors.

Elliot Moss
So when did the investors kick in, was that right at the beginning or have they kind of continued to give you money at different stages?

Richard Setterwall
Initially we sort of, when we had the idea on a couple of slides we you know turned to family and friends. So within the family and friend group we had some sort of investors or business angels that are used to sort of invest small amounts into ventures. So we got them on board and then we also had a second round with sort of business angels from London and they have proven to be extremely sort of helpful, both in sort of connecting us but also you know, contributing with their experience. They have been in my sort of shoes forty or thirty years ago.

Elliot Moss
And have they really got you out of the hole sometimes? Have you sometimes felt there is no way round this and then literally one conversation you’ve gone ‘thank you very much, that makes perfect sense’?

Richard Setterwall
Absolutely. I always get something from you know, every little discussion we have and especially as you said, you know sometimes it can be extremely sort of lonely to be sort on the top by yourself and you have so much pressure from everyone but sort of that’s also the beauty of it. And then when you have those discussion with them then you really feel that okay we are actually doing this together in one way. So and as I said, business advisors have also been tremendous in sort of helping me on the way.

Elliot Moss
Good stuff. Stay with me for my final chat with Richard today plus hear a track from John Lee Hooker; that’s after the latest traffic and travel here on Jazz FM.

Pure raucous energy from John Lee Hooker, Boom Boom of course if you didn’t already know. Richard Setterwall is my business shaper just for a few more minutes and he is the founder of My Dog Buddy so if you are listening and you need someone to babysit your dog or rather dog sit your dog, I suppose we should say and you want them to come back happy and healthy then Richard’s your man – Mydogbuddy.co.uk I am guessing…

Richard Setterwall
Yes.

Elliot Moss
…Is probably the website.

Richard Setterwall
Or .com, you can use both. Very original.

Elliot Moss
Or .com. Wow. Versatility as well. Now looking back to when you set up which was not that long ago actually. Do you wish you had known a couple of things that would have really helped you not be so stressed and make mistakes or do you actually look back and go ‘you know what I enjoyed going through those and finding out what the right way’.

Richard Setterwall
I would say it is almost the opposite. If I knew how hard this would be I would probably not have you know sort of taken this step to be honest.

Elliot Moss
Wow.

Richard Setterwall
But you know it’s been a fantastic ride and you know, as I said it is very early days still but I enjoy every sort of moment of it, especially the sort of you just see how happy you make people and that was also a big difference from when you worked as a management consultant; of course you made big corporations and you know companies happy.

Elliot Moss
But this is more tangible?

Richard Setterwall
This is so much more tangible, you actually see a dog that you know is returned to the owner and he is super happy and you know had the best of times and also the dog owners, if you read the reviews, it’s just amazing to hear.

Elliot Moss
I can just see smiling dogs, I have got this vision in my head I can’t…

Richard Setterwall
You should visit our office you know one day.

Elliot Moss
…rows and rows of dogs. How, I mean apart from the bare numbers which I imagine are relatively small but growing, what is the growth rate? Are you seeing huge exponential growth month on month or has it been a bit slower?

Richard Setterwall
Yeah we have been sort of very consistent I would say in having thirty percent monthly growth so of course that is becoming very exponential after a while and at the moment we have had sort of you know, more than twenty thousand sitters that have signed up and yeah we just take on tens of thousands of dogs.

Elliot Moss
And as you look forward, are you thinking ‘yeah I can see this working’? Another thirty percent month on month it’s going to happen or is it going to go crazy at some point have you envisaged in your business plan, are you forecasting that there will be a moment of tipping when you become very happy and smiley because there is just so many people? I mean do you think you are going to run out of sitters at some point in the near future?

Richard Setterwall
No, no, no. What we see now is sort of I think it is sort of endless possibilities, especially if you look at we have UK and we might also look for the rest of Europe so for us I see a very bright future and I just hope to continue with what I am doing and especially with this sort of home dog boarding part which is our main focus but then we also have other services and products we can add to it.

Elliot Moss
And is there a reason, I mean you are Swedish and you mention obviously having you know the Nordic responsibility I think back at PWC and all that. Why are there so many people setting up businesses in the UK? Is there something that the Government is doing right? Is it just there’s a feeling that entrepreneurs in the digital space are connecting more here? What’s going on?

Richard Setterwall
I think for me it was because I was actually expanding my current business in London at the moment so then when I came up with the idea it was just actually nice to stay and you know it is a huge market, of course dog market in the UK. But I also think that the Government is doing a tremendous job. They have all those incentives for entrepreneurs to start up businesses, very good incentives for business angels to actually invest in UK based companies. We have you know, enterprise investment schemes etc., so I think it is just a very favourable sort of environment but also an amazing community sort of all over London you have you know, meet-ups etc., and dinners where you meet other entrepreneurs and co-working spaces. We actually sit in one of the co-working spaces which is amazing.

Elliot Moss
Wow someone is doing something right. Finally things have come together and I have sensed that even over the last three years of talking to entrepreneurs that there is something really buzzy about the UK and about London. Just before I let you go Richard, what is your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Richard Setterwall
Of course I chose the song that is called The Dog Song and actually I heard it on one of the TED Talks but it is an amazing song so enjoy.

Elliot Moss
Thank you so much for being my business shaper. This is your song choice; unsurprisingly, The Dog Song from I think it is Nellie McKay.

That was The Dog Song from Nellie McKay. What a jolly little number it was too, the song choice of my business shaper today, Richard Setterwall. A precise brain in action matched with a passion for a particular area of the world i.e. dog looking after and the potential that can offer as a business. Fascinating stuff. Do join me again, same time, same place – that’s 9.00am next Saturday morning for another edition of Jazz Shapers. In the meantime stay with us here on Jazz FM coming up next, it’s Nigel Williams.

Richard Setterwall, the founder and CEO of myDogBuddy, is an avid dog lover first and foremost. He graduated with an MSc in Financial Engineering from UCLA Anderson and LTH before starting his professional career in management consulting and corporate strategy for McKinsey and PWC Strategy. At the age of 31, Richard felt the time was right to follow his passion and get involved in a new project closer to his heart. His sister, the owner of Luca, a 6 year old Rottweiler, was struggling to find a dog sitter to look after him and the kennels were too stressful as an option. Realising that his sister wasn’t alone in her search of trusted and safe alternatives to the kennels, Richard began to consider and analyse the endless possibilities of an online community that connected like-minded dog lovers. myDogBuddy was born in January 2013.

Follow Richard on Twitter @R_Setterwall.

Listen live at 9am Saturday.

Working as a management consultant taught me about being structured, planned and analytical.

I enjoyed what I did back then but I wanted to follow my own passion as well.

Creating and running your own business is all about the soft values, for us it is all about trust.

We add a personal touch to everything we do. It’s kind of hard if you don’t like dogs because we are around dogs all day.

When we started, we didn’t have a website. I talked to local veterinary clinics and all the local pet shops trying to find out who the best dog sitters in London were.

I realised there must be thousands of people out there who would love to take care of a dog but don’t have one themselves, or they have a dog and they want a playmate for their dog.

Word of mouth takes care of most of the business. We get thousands of people signing up to become dog sitters every week.

It can be extremely lonely in business by yourself and you have so much pressure from everyone, but that’s also the beauty of it.

Business advisors have been tremendous in helping me on the way.