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Yes, I compared it to Airbnb, but at least I didn’t say they “fetched” or “retrieved” the new funding.
Rover, a sharing economy model network of pet sitters and dog walkers, today announced that it has secured a $40 million Series E round of funding led by Foundry Group and Menlo Ventures with participation from Madrona Venture Group.
All three firms have previously invested in the company, which has raised over $90 million in VC money since it was founded five years ago.
Comparing it to Airbnb isn’t fully accurate, as it’s more than just finding your pooch a sweet spot to stay in. Rover lets you search across a wide array of services, including dog boarders (where a host takes care of the dog in their home), dog sitters (where they actually come to your home to take care of the dog), drop-in visits, doggy daycare, and dog walking.
To get a sense of how it works, I searched for a dog boarder in the San Francisco Bay Area for a weekend in October. I found hosts with quality reviews offering their services from as low as $15 per night to as much as $150 per night. The one on that high end was a woman named Beverly, who describes herself as an "expert private dog behaviorist," so presumably she'll be doing more than feeding your dog and taking it for walks.
Typical of the sharing economy model, people providing services keep 80 percent of payments, while the rest goes to Rover for running the site.
The cool thing about the platform is its versatility. As a baseline, you must select the size of your dog (in pounds) so that you're automatically matched up with a dog sitter that is open to that size dog. The number of filters goes on and on, with the ability to add multiple dogs, and specific requests from the sitter, like "puppy care" or bathing and grooming.
As evidenced by the large new funding, which nearly doubles Rover’s coffers, the company appears to be doing pretty well.
“Over the last three years, we have grown nine times faster than the next largest competitor and are the market share leader in every major metropolitan area,” said Rover CEO Aaron Easterly in a prepared statement.
According to the announcement, the funding may be used for more than just product development, regional expansion, and market growth: Rover outright suggests that it may use the extra cash to make an acquisition.
After all, Rover isn’t alone in trying to capitalize on the big pets market. Essentially solving the same need, DogVacay has raised $47 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark, DAG Ventures, First Round, Foundation Capital, GSV Capital, OMERS Ventures, and Sherpa Ventures. (Coincidentally, with Vator Splash LA coming up in less than two weeks, it’s worth mentioning that DogVacay was the event’s winner in 2012.)
Another company in the space is Wag!, which specifically focuses on dog walkers.
Rover is certainly one of the most prominent companies in the market, however, and today it boasts more than 65,000 sitters across its platform. I reached to the company to learn more about its growth metrics, specifically in terms of number of customers and whether the company is profitable. Here's what a company spokesperson told me about the latter question:
"Rover is on track to roughly triple our revenue again this year, after nearly tripling last year. Earlier this year, we hit an important milestone—Rover has reached a 100mm dollar run rate. We are not yet profitable but we have clear line of sight to profitability. We currently think we will hit that milestone by the end of next year, but of course that is not set in stone and may change."
Across the U.S., Rover has about two million "pet parents," pet sitters, and dog walkers using the platform. The company says it books four million services per year.
Ed. note: Our 6th Annual Vator Splash LA conference is coming up on October 13 at the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica. Speakers include Mark Cuban (one of the hosts of Shark Tank and owner of the Dallas Mavericks); Brian Lee (Founder & CEO, Honest Company); Leura Fine (Founder & CEO, Laurel & Wolf ); Nick Green (Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Thrive Market); Tri Tran (CEO & Co-founder, Munchery); Adam Goldenberg (Founder & CEO, JustFab); Andre Haddad (CEO, Turo); Mike Jones (Founder, Science) and many more. Join us! REGISTER HERE.
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DogVacay.com is a community marketplace that addresses the $5B market for dog-boarding and pet-sitting. Instead of paying for a crowded and overpriced kennel, our users book with experienced hosts who watch dogs in their own homes. In two months since launch the we have gained national coverage with thousands of approved hosts.
We provide multiple layers of quality control, a comprehensive insurance policy, emergency support, photo updates, and other pet services like daycare and walking.
We were founded in 2011 by a husband and wife team who boarded over 100 dogs in their home to make extra money while saving for their weddin. We are now venture capital funded by First Round Capital, Science, and several angels.