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DogVacay launches new Daycare service for your dog

The paid pet daycare market is worth $1 billion, and represents 10% of pet care services overall

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
April 21, 2015 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3d4c

Having grown up with animals that were either in a cage, like my hamsters and fish, or with animals that were generally indifferent to my presence most of the time, like my cats, I didn't understand why a dog owner would need someone to look after their pet all day. Couldn't they survive on their own for a few hours?

After seeing how upset a dog gets when its owner leave, now I understand why this is important. And so does DogVacay, the company that is known for being what is basically an AirBnB for dogs.

The company is expanding its services to include Daycare, it was revealed on Tuesday.

With the new service, DogVacay hosts will be able to set and display rates specific for Daycare. Guests can select Daycare as a service when searching to filter results to show only hosts who offer Daycare and can book non-consecutive dates.

With Daycare, for example, if a professional works from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they can book Daycare for only Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That is a departure from its previous offering, which allows dog owners who need to skip town for a couple of days to browse hosts to find the ideal home away from home for their pets.

Now they can have someone look after their pets on an on-going basis, not just when they are going to be out of town.

The idea for the new service came from the company's existing users, Aaron Hirschhorn, CEO of DogVacay, told me.

"DogVacay was started in order to address the challenge of travelling. When you leave the dog it has to be left in a cage in a kennel, or you have to rely on favors from family. We were the solution for overnight boarding, anywhere from two days to a few months," he said.

"We talked to the community and found that the biggest unmet need was daycare, which is used when you’re at home, during your regular life. When someone goes to work, rather than leaving the dog alone all day, and having it go through separation anxiety, we can give the dog a great experience that day."

Dogs can only go for around six hours before they start to have anxiety, or need to use the bathroom. Having someone there during the day alleviates these problems, and allows them to get exercise as well.

Daycare has already proven to be popular, out of 20,000 hosts, over half of them are already offering the service. It mutually beneficial for both sides; for the host, they earn more money, and for the dog owner, it typically costs around $20 a day to hire someone to look after the dog, which is half of what it costs to leave them at a kennel.

Daycare represents a big opportunity for DogVacay, as the paid pet daycare market is a big one. It is currently worth $1 billion, and representing nearly 10% of the overall pet care services market.

This is likely the first step for DogVacay toward offering a slew of pet care needs.

"Without revealing details of our roadmap, I can say that we interested in pet services generally," Hirschhorn said. "There is between $12 billion and $13 billion currently spent in this area, on grooming, daycare, walking, dog sitting. We view that market as extraordinarily fragmented, With boarding, no one has 1% market share, so that's one area of interest."

What DogVacay ultimately plans to do is to capitalize on the trust that is has built up within its community, and offer them more opportunities for services.

"It goes without saying that, as we scale the business, it is in our DNA to focus on customer care. We are  maintaining a level of quality  that we built our brand on. This is our big focus, something that we think about every day. It is key to building our brand and business into the leading trusted pet care provider. As we enter new markets, we will never lose site of that."

Founded in 2012, the Santa Monica-based DogVacay has raised $47 million in funding, most recently taking in a $25 million round from OMERS Ventures, GSV Capital, First Round Capital, Benchmark, Foundation Capital and DAG Ventures in November of last year.

The company has 20,000 Hosts across the country, hundreds of thousands of guests and has over 1 million nights booked.

While the rates on DogVacay start at $25 a night, the hosts are then allowed to set their own rates at high as $100 per night. Payments are sent through PayPal and no direct payments are allowed, as they must go through DogVacay.com for the transaction to be covered by its insurance policy. 

DogVacay was the winner of the 2012 Vator Splash LA competition. Vator has another event coming up this week on April 22nd and 23rd, with speakers that include Marco Zappacosta, Co-founder & CEO of Thumbtack, Adam Goldenberg, CEO of JustFab, and Slava Rubin, Founder & CEO of Indiegogo. Get your tickets here!

(Image source: dogvacay.com

 


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