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 Shubz.tv, an online video chat service that came in second place.
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).