DogVacay and Rover combine to form a pet-sitting giant

Steven Loeb · March 29, 2017 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/4941

Rover and DogVacay will remain in operation, with Rover CEO Aaron Easterly in charge

In the last five years, two companies have battled it out for supremacy of what has turned out to be a lucrative space: pet-sitting. Now those two companies are combining forces to dominate the space for the foreseeable future.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Rover has acquired DogVacay. Rover’s headquarters will continue to be in headquartered Seattle and led by Rover CEO Aaron Easterly as CEO, while Aaron Hirschhorn, founder and CEO of DogVacay, will join Rover’s Board of Directors.

For now, both sites will continue to operate as usual, and the companies “are working on integration plans," details of which will be shared in the future, Brandie Gonzales, Director of Corporate Communications and PR at Rover.com, told me.

"We’re super impressed with the DogVacay team and look forward to working with them to achieve our shared mission."

Founded in 2012, the Santa Monica-based DogVacay, the winner of the 2012 Vator Splash LA competition, is basically an AirBnB for dogs. It allows dog owners who need to skip town for a couple of days to find the ideal home away from home for their pets. Last year the company began branching out beyond dog sitting, launching a dog daycare service.

The company had 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 2014.

While financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed, Gonzales told VatorNews that it was an all stock transaction, and that DogVacay shareholders will become Rover shareholders going forward.

A market with two competing marketplace offerings dilutes the proposition for hosts and guests. Joining the strengths, host networks and footprint coverage of both companies creates a superior experience for all users and enhances the economics for the combined entity," Charles Moldow, General Partner at Foundation Capital, told VatorNews.

Rover, founded in 2011, allows its users 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.

Rover currently has more than 85,000 sitters across its platform, with two million "pet parents," pet sitters, and dog walkers using the platform. The company says it books four million services per year.

DogVacay and Rover will combine for more than 100,000 5-star sitters. To date, millions of services have been booked through the companies, which generated over $150 million combined in bookings in 2016.

Together, we can accomplish our goals quicker and make an even bigger impact. Plus, this partnership will enable us to pick up engineering velocity, bring new products to market faster and invest even more aggressively in building the best tools for our sitters and dog walkers," Easterly said in a statement.

In addition, the combined companies expect to accelerate international expansion efforts. Rover is currently in over 10,000 cities in the United States.

"In addition to our combined U.S. presence, DogVacay has the leading market-share position in Canada," Gonzales said. "This deal will help us create the best pet care service for pets and pet owners across the U.S. and Canada, and accomplish our business goals quicker."

Rover raised over $90 million in venture funding, including a $40 million round in October of last year. Investors include Foundry Group, Menlo Ventures and Madrona Venture Group.

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