DogVacay barks up the money tree with $15M Series B

The new capital comes one month after launching its first consumer-facing app

Financial trends and news by Faith Merino
October 10, 2013
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You know what sucks? That moment when you’ve booked your vacation and you’re all excited and amped, and then you remember that you have to find someone to watch your dogs—which you really should’ve done before you booked your dates like a schmuck.

For those of us who always manage to do it backwards, there’s DogVacay, winner of the 2012 Vator Splash LA competition. The company announced Thursday that it has raised a $15 million Series B round led by Foundation Capital, with help from DAG Ventures, Sherpa Ventures, and existing investors Benchmark and First Round Capital. DogVacay has raised $22 million altogether since its launch in 2012.

The new round comes just one month after the company launched its brand new native iOS app specifically for guests. Earlier this year, the DogVacay app launched for hosts, allowing them to manage customers, messages, send custom quotes and photo updates, and more. The new app is specifically for guests—those looking for a place to board their fur babies.

The new guest app allows pet parents to search nearby pet sitters, schedule in-person meetings, make a reservation and pay for it from their phones, receive push notifications with photo updates, have one-click access to DogVacay’s concierge, and more.

DogVacay now counts more than 10,000 hosts across the country using its platform, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Each booking includes free pet insurance and 24/7 customer support.

The service provides a comprehensive overview of each host, including what type of home they have, how large their outdoor area is, whether they can provide 24/7 supervision, whether they have other pets, and so on. Nightly rates range from $15 to $65.

Hosts are more or less screened in a process that includes an initial application, a phone interview, reference checks, and more. DogVacay also offers hosts instructional videos to watch and encourages dog owners and hosts to set up a preliminary meeting in advance to make sure they’re a good match.

"DogVacay's momentum since we originally invested is similar to the trajectory we saw in other marketplace companies such as eBay, Yelp, Uber and GrubHub," said Benchmark partner Bill Gurley, in a statement. "The remarkable organic traction of its marketplace shows no sign of slowing down, and we're delighted with the impressive trajectory that lies ahead." Gurley is also a member of DogVacay’s board of directors.

"The capital will be used to further improve our customer experience and our technology," said CEO Aaron Hirschhorn, in an email. "We'll continue to scale our DogVacay Concierge, which connects pet parents with specific requests find the perfect host for their pup, (even for dogs with special needs or behavior issues), and our customer support team, which is available to pet parents 24/7. We additionally plan on creating even more innovative technology like our recently launched DogVacay app that helps pet parents stay in touch with their host and dog during their own Vacay."


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