Dog-Sitting Site Snags $25M for Expansion

For parents of dogs who still want to spend a night out or take a vacation without their pups, is a website that takes an Airbnb approach to finding a dog sitter.

The Seattle-based company connects pet owners with dog lovers who, for one night or many, will watch a family’s dog for a fee. Rover is looking to expand the business beyond the more than 10,000 U.S. cities it operates in, using a $25 million financing round it announced yesterday to do so. The funding was led by Technology Crossover Ventures, and existing investors Foundry Group, Madrona Venture Group, Menlo Ventures, and Petco also participated.

Through the Rover website, dog owners can book a sitter to watch their pet. The company offers pet insurance to anyone who books the service for a night, as well as mobile updates about the dog while it’s with the sitter.

Rover is targeting dog owners who would not typically otherwise use a service to board their dogs, the company said in a statement. Since its founding three years ago by Madrona managing director Greg Gottesman, Rover has expanded to 80 employees, double the number it had a year ago, the company said.

The new funding, a Series D, doubles Rover’s previous total of $25 million, following the company’s $12 million raise last year. Rover is one of several services, including DogVacay and Wagit, targeting this multibillion dollar market, which Xconomy’s Benjamin Romano detailed when he interviewed CEO Aaron Easterly.

On the low end, Rover pet sitters cost less than most kennels. In Austin, TX, the price typically ranges from $20 to $40 a night, with local kennels charging on the higher end of that range for a night. The dog lovers in Seattle charge comparable prices on Rover, while boarding is typically above $40 a night.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at [email protected] Follow @xconholley

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