DogVacay CEO Aaron Hirschhorn
DogVacay CEO Aaron Hirschhorn

Who is the top dog in canine boarding?

That question is a contentious one among two pet-sitting startups.

DogVacay CEO Aaron Hirschhorn told PandoDaily earlier this week that his company’s business is an order of magnitude larger than Seattle-based Rover.com, a statement that came as the company expanded its services and updated its mobile app.

But Rover CEO Aaron Easterly says not so fast.

In an email to GeekWire, Easterly said that the Seattle company is actually the largest player in connecting dog owners with dog sitters.

Yes, it appear as if we’ve got an old-fashioned dog fight.

Rover.com CEO Aaron Easterly with Caramel on the GeekWire podcast. Photo: Erynn Rose
Rover.com CEO Aaron Easterly with Caramel on the GeekWire podcast. Photo: Erynn Rose

We think it is great that other companies in the space are growing,” said Easterly, a former executive at aQuantive. “It raises awareness of our service, and it helps educate dog owners on alternative boarding options. However, we are more focused on our customers than our competitors. In regards to the metrics: Assuming the numbers quoted are true, we have a much larger marketplace and our revenue is growing 2-3 times faster.”

DogVacay’s mobile app update includes new services designed to appeal to dog owners even when they aren’t having their pets watched. The app now includes a Vet Finder feature to help owners get medical assistance for their animals, along with Symptom Checker, a WebMD for canine illnesses.

In addition, the app also includes VacayCam, a service that allows users to snap a picture of their dog and add colorful borders and effects. The app can even be set to emit a sound to get the dog’s attention before taking a photo.

Rover has been up to its own tricks as well. Last week, the company announced it was acquiring Sleepover Rover, an Arizona-based company that helps connect dogs with in-home boarding services in California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and Texas. Earlier this year, Rover raised $12 million in an investment round led by Menlo Ventures, and also includes Petco as a backer and partner. Total funding stands at about $25 million.

DogVacay also is well funded, having raised a $15 million venture round from Benchmark and others last October. Total funding stands at about $22 million.

Comments

  • TechGloomandDoom

    Stupid businesses, doomed for FAIL.

  • MoneyManager

    You’re telling me that $34m dollars has been raised between these two companies to pet sit? Seriously?!

    Dumbest thing I’ve heard today… But in another 10 minutes, I’m sure there will be something even more dummer….

    • Dave

      With the amount that people spend on pets and related services, this actually seems less crazy than most. Seriously, how many of us have spent $1,000 with a vet when their dog is sick, regularly send several hundred dollars to board their dog while they are on vacation, don’t go away for a long weekend because there is no one to take care of their dog.

      Fragmented markets, highly localized service providers, high spend, no good ways to find these services on a broader basis. Ultimately, if either one of these–or both of these–establish a market for the random pet related services, they could build a really nice ecosystem with high revenue streams, nice profits and great convenience for pet owners. No different than Expedia and others were for travel, or Uber is for car sharing services (regardless of what you think of Uber’s valuation, the business has grown amazingly fast).

  • John Nelson

    Had a great experience with Rover this summer. 1/2 the price of our regular boarding place and my dog loved it!

  • Shelley

    I love Rover – use them a lot. Not a dumb idea if you have a pet that needs walking or kenneling when you travel. The pet industry has made a lot of people very rich. @GeekWire: did you notice that the two company’s website homepages are virtually identical? They even have the same tagline “Find a loving dog sitter”. Now that’s weird. I wonder who was first…

  • RunTheNumbers

    “However, we are more focused on our customers than our competitors. In regards to the metrics: Assuming the numbers quoted are true, we have a much larger marketplace and our revenue is growing 2-3 times faster.”

    Nothing like contradicting yourself within the same statement.

    • Money Manager

      Numbers guy. When do you think they’ll earn enough revenue to make up that $34m dollar investment?

      • RunTheNumbers

        No idea — I don’t know what their revenue run rate is right now, much less their expenses.

        My comment concerns the line about “focus on customers and not competitors” (classic AMZN), but meanwhile…..here’s how we stack up against our competition. It’s a tired PR line and non-informative. At least be a bit more original.

Job Listings on GeekWork