It’s turning into an epic dog fight. DogVacay today announced that it has secured $15 million in fresh funding, money that the Santa Monica, California company plans to use to expand its pet boarding service and compete more aggressively with Seattle-based Rover.com.
In fact, the funding — provided by Foundation Capital, Benchmark, First Round Capital, DAG Ventures and Sherpa Ventures — comes just a few months after Rover.com inked a strategic partnership and $3.5 investment with Petco.
DogVacay is now ahead in the funding race, with a total of $22 million raised to date. That compares to $13 million for Rover.com, which was started by Madrona Venture Group’s Greg Gottesman at a Startup Weekend event in Seattle in June 2011. Both companies often draw comparisons to Airbnb, the online service that allows people to rent out rooms in their homes as an alternative to hotels.
DogVacay was started in March 2012 by the husband-and-wife team of Aaron and Karine Hirschhorn, and it has since grown to include more than 10,000 qualified “hosts” across the country. Rover.com is led by Aaron Easterly, a former executive at online advertising powerhouse aQuantive.
“DogVacay’s momentum since we originally invested is similar to the trajectory we saw in other marketplace companies such as eBay, Yelp, Uber and GrubHub,” said Bill Gurley, general partner at Benchmark and member of DogVacay’s board of directors. “The remarkable organic traction of its marketplace shows no sign of slowing down, and we’re delighted with the impressive trajectory that lies ahead.”
Rover.com’s Easterly added in a statement to GeekWire:
“We are happy for DogVacay and are pleased there’s so much investor interest in the space. They will continue to help us educate pet parents that there is a loving alternative to kennels and reticent neighbors. We expect to continue to lead this category on every important dimension.”