Petplan Co-Founder, Natasha Ashton, Joins Houwzer’s Board


Natasha Ashton, co-founder and former CMO of Petplan, is joining the Board of Directors at Houwzer, the all-in-one real estate company that is reimagining home real estate to better serve clients and agents alike. Ashton is an experienced branding and consumer expert who took a hands-on approach to growing her business into a nationally-recognized brand.

In 2001, Natasha and her husband, Chris, were students at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business when their cat became sick. The costly vet bills made them realize just how lacking the options were for pet insurance in the US – in their native UK, pet insurance is much more common. Sensing a huge opportunity, the two went all in, co-founding Petplan USA in 2006.

The emergence of Petplan arguably jump-started the American pet insurance industry, now estimated to be worth $2 billion annually. The Ashtons grew Petplan into the nation’s foremost pet insurance company and by 2011, they were the first and only pet insurance company at the time to be named to the Inc. Magazine Inc. 500 list.

Just as Petplan was able to revolutionize the petcare industry, Houwzer aims to do the same with residential real estate. The industry has been riddled with issues stemming from a lack of innovation and an independent contractor business model. While technology had dramatically increased listing efficiency over the past several decades, brokerages were still charging the same rates as always. Houwzer has changed that – by employing salaried agents, embracing technology, and offering full service for a flat fee, they’re able to provide clients with a better experience and keep their team focused on client goals, not on commissions.

Ashton not only embraces Houwzer’s visionary approach – she’ll be able to deliver valuable advice on introducing consumers to new and innovative services. Houwzer is excited to welcome Ashton to their growing team and look forward to benefiting from her wealth of experience in running and growing a consumer-facing business.

“We’re incredibly lucky to be adding Natasha to our Board,” says Houwzer CEO Mike Maher. “She’s an experienced operator who’s built an enduring brand – taking her company, PetPlan, from idea to big business and successful exit. She also brings a ton of strategic marketing domain to the team as we continue to evolve our brand. Most of all, I’m excited about continuing to diversify our team at every level of the company, especially at the Board and Executive level.”

“At Petplan we built a category leading business from the ground up so I know first hand how challenging it can be. I also know how building a compelling brand and an enduring culture are crucial to the long term success of any business. Mike and his team have created a disruptive business model centered around a strong set of values that is about to revolutionize the real estate industry. I’m excited to be joining the team as a Board Director as we embark on this next phase of growth,” says Ashton.