Mopets,
aka MOther of PETS:
a start-up driven
by diversity

Nancy Delhalle, twelve years ago you and your husband Peter started the communication agency that would be the foundation of Serviceplan Benelux. Today you are launching Mopets, the first community dedicated to animal lovers.

Long paper

Why did you launch Mopets?

The idea for Mopets was born in the basket of Gus, the dog our family adopted in 2012.  At the time, there was a lack of an easily accessible meeting place where pet owners could chat and find all the answers to their questions in the blink of an eye.

Thanks to my marketing background, I developed Mopets.com, a digital platform that profiles itself as a free social network dedicated to pets and where pet owners can publicly share their love for their loyal companions by posting photos and videos. But Mopets is also a collaborative platform of services for our four-legged friends, small ads and a directory of professionals in the sector.

With 80 million households in Europe owning one or more pets (for only 65 million who are parents), the pet-related industry is booming. The demand for dedicated products and services (pet sitting, dog walking, feeding, care products,...) is expanding as the number of pets and the attention given to them grows. More than ever, we human beings need to reconnect with the living world, which animals are a part of.

Where is the project at right now?

Mopets.com has been online for 8 months and is available in 8 languages.  The services have started a short while ago: petsitting/walking, directory with professionals in the sector, classified ads...

In addition to the Benelux, I am launching Mopets in France, Italy, Spain, Poland and Israel, in partnership with local entrepreneurs. Each site is therefore managed locally, taking into account the specificities of the market. This is a first step towards even greater internationalisation.

Finally, we are going to start marketing campaigns to promote this project.

Does this mean that the Serviceplan adventure is now over for you?

No, I am still working on some projects for Serviceplan in the Benelux. I am overseeing our corporate communication and projects related to the group's human resources. Our House of Communication is the preferred partner of Mopets. Plan.Net was responsible for the architecture and webdesign of Mopets.com. Serviceplan works on creative ideas. As for Mediaplus and Mediascale, they are responsible for the media campaigns and the data integration within Mopets, respectively. These agencies feed my daily reflection and vision about this start-up. Our sector has never been so exciting, but its evolution is accelerating and it is important to keep up with the latest developments

Why this new entrepreneurial adventure?

After working for the most attractive brands for 25 years, my ambition is to launch a trusted brand, in Europe and elsewhere. It's also a way for me to put my knowledge to good use and continue to explore the vibrant world of start-ups where too few women are recognized.

Can you tell us more about this lack of diversity?

A call for more diversity was made at the last Slush in Helsinki, the most important event in the world of start-ups. 93% of the investments injected into European start-ups went to companies whose founders are all men. And with good reason: the latter represent 94% of the CEOs of start-ups that have completed Series A or B rounds.

But a team that is not diverse and that does not intend to work on this issue, is a team that is less likely to succeed and therefore presents a riskier investment. Entrepreneurs must learn to step outside their comfort zone by hiring profiles that are different from their own.

Atomico, a venture capitalist active in tech, has published a guide for entrepreneurs that describes in a very concrete way the steps to take to set up an efficient "diversity and inclusion plan".

Is Mopets a model in the sector?

Yes, currently more women than men have joined this entrepreneurial adventure and I am also very attentive to the diversity of profiles in terms of age, origin and professional background. Difference is definitely a strength! For more information about MOPETS, feel free to visit the website on mopets.com

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