Team members from A Place for Rover strike a paw pose at Seattle Startup Weekend

Airbnb is transforming how travelers find places to stay. Now, Seattle venture capitalist Greg Gottesman wants to bring that same concept to pet care with A Place for Rover.

Gottesman and his team of nine developers and designers took home the top prize at Seattle Startup Weekend, the 54-hour coding marathon in which teams compete to build new online services.

Like Airbnb, A Place for Rover serves as an online matchmaking service connecting pet owners in need of pet care with individuals who might want to take care of a canine companion for a few days. It is free to list on A Place for Rover, with the company taking a 10 percent cut when a successful booking is made through the site.

Here’s a closer look at how it works from Gottesman’s pitch Sunday night:

Gottesman tells GeekWire that he’s not planning to quit his day job at Madrona Venture Group, but he’s hopeful that some of the team members will be able to push the idea forward.

“I will try to lead an effort to see that this happens because I think it is a great idea,” said Gottesman, who pitched the concept Friday night and spent the majority of the weekended building the service with his team.

A Place for Rover ( not to be confused with Seattle’s A Place for Mom) represents a big opportunity. As Gottesman notes in his presentation, 39 percent of U.S. households own a dog, with Americans on average spending $274 on kennel boarding each year.

This isn’t Gottesman’s first Startup Weekend. In fact, at last month’s event, Gottesman led efforts for, an online video chat service that came in second place.

Startup Weekend organizers Marc Nager and Jennifer Cabala

I served as a judge for tonight’s event, along with RealNetworks Chairman Rob Glaser, Madrona Venture Group’s Matt McIlwain, Cheezburger Network’s Scott Porad, Ignition Partners’ Michelle Goldberg and Google’s Jonathan Sposato. (Editor’s note: Sposato is an investor in GeekWire).

Here are the other winners:

Second Place: Forms for Hire (Hosted solution for HR documents and forms).

Third Place: Ride My Design (Customizable designs for snowboards and skis).

Honorable Mention: Student Navigator (An online community for high-school students developed by Eastlake High School juniors Will Mittenthal and Cole Calhoun).

Change the World Winner: Heart Mob (Flash mobs for community volunteer events).

Most Disruptive: Shakeup Call (A mobile alert service to wake up friends).

Related Story: Video: Watch the high school whiz kids who wowed Seattle Startup Weekend

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  • Kirill Zubovsky

    Greg, I was curios about the name. Did you call it after your dog, Rover? 

  • Greg Gottesman

    Came up with the name about 15 minutes before I pitched the idea Friday night.  Even more shocking, the .com was available.

    • johnhcook

      I was wondering if you were inspired by the name A Place for Mom? You know Pamela and John Temple’s company, which helps families find elder care options for aging relatives.

      • Matt Shobe

        Yeah, that’s the other name it immediately brought to mind for me, too. I’m also stunned the .com was available. Great idea.

  • Pam Miller

    I will be quite curious to learn more about this great startup idea in the coming weeks and months. It’s of personal interest to me.

  • Guest

    Congratulations to all of the winners who are making Seattle the place to be for enterprising young talent!

  • Philip Kimmey

    Cool article! It’s funny seeing your quirks when you watch videos of yourself. The 54 hours of coffee and limited sleep also left my voice sounding a bit strange.

    Anyway, to all those saying they’re interested or would use such a service, go ahead and signup for our beta!

    We look forward to seeing you there!

  • Monica Harrington

    As someone who has been known to spend a dollar or two for quality pet care, I love this.  Spaniels Emma and Franklin concur….

  • vishwar

    A place for rover was my favorite even though I was on another team. You guys shouldn’t have a tough time convincing Madrona to invest in it :)

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