The two big dogs of the mobile pet-sitting world are now one.
Santa Monica-based DogVacay was purchased last week by Rover.com for an undisclosed sum as part of an all-stock deal, according to the companies.
The deal solidifies Seattle-based Rover’s alpha-dog position in the nascent mobile pet care space, a position for which it had – up until recently – been jostling with DogVacay. The companies said in a statement that together they had $150 million in bookings for dog walking, pet-sitting, and dog boarding in 2016 and expect that to double year-over-year.
Rover Chief Executive Aaron Easterly said the deal would allow the company to accelerate its business plans.
“We expect to be announcing new product offerings in the next couple of weeks and to invest aggressively in international markets like Canada where DogVacay is already the leader,” Easterly said. “We’re going to continue to innovate.”
Data from Second Measure Inc., a Silicon Valley data analytics firm that tracks customer spending, pegs Rover’s 2016 client numbers and revenue stream at around double DogVacay’s, which Easterly confirmed to be roughly accurate with Rover’s bookings at just shy of $100 million and DogVacay’s at just over $50 million. Given that Rover and DogVacay take around 20 percent of fees paid by client users, their revenue figures would be in the $20 million and $10 million range, respectively.
Rover’s size advantage is also apparent in the amount of venture funding raised. DogVacay has pulled in $47 million in backing since it was founded in late 2011, while Rover has about $90 million in investment including a $40 million Series E round in the fall led by Menlo Ventures and Foundry Group, according to Crunchbase. Investors in DogVacay include Benchmark Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and former Honest Co. Chief Executive Brian Lee. Because the deal was an all-stock transaction, investors in DogVacay will now be Rover shareholders.
Easterly will continue in his role as the head of the combined companies, while DogVacay Chief Executive Aaron Hirschhorn will take a seat on the board. The combined company’s headquarters will be at Rover’s home base in Seattle, but DogVacay’s outpost in Santa Monica will remain for the time being. Twenty-two of DogVacay’s 92 employees saw their positions eliminated after the deal, a spokeswoman for the company said.
Hirschhorn said that while final plans for the Santa Monica office are still in flux, there is hope that it would remain a company outpost.
“There will be employees in the Santa Monica office for the foreseeable future,” he said. “What it looks long term is still being worked out.”
Easterly said the biggest challenge facing the company after the DogVacay acquisition is the same one it faced before: penetrating a market dominated by a very intimate referral system.
“We’ve always believed we’re not competing with kennels,” he said. “Most of our customers are people who would have used friends or family to watch their animals. That demographic is harder to reach and educate, but we expect to make inroads.”
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