Is Rover barking up the IPO tree?
The fast-growing Seattle based online pet sitting and dog walking marketplace is targeting an initial public offering in 2018, CEO Aaron Easterly said on a recent appearance on Jim Cramer’s Mad Money show.
“We are not in a hurry. We are really excited about the future opportunity. We are tapping less than one percent of the market right now, so there’s a lot of growth ahead of us,” said Easterly, a former executive at online advertising company aQuantive. “That being said, we are targeting 2018 for a public offering.”
Easterly said that most dog owners “hate the idea of taking their dog to a kennel,” which is creating a tremendous opportunity for Rover, which matches pet owners with nearby pet sitters who are publicly rated by the community. The average cost of a stay in a big city is $45 to $50, and nationwide the cost runs about $30 per night for the pet care.
Rover, started by venture capitalist Greg Gottesman as a fun project at a Startup Weekend event, raised $40 million in venture capital last October from Foundry Group, Menlo Ventures and Madrona Venture Group. Total funding now stands at $91.5 million. It now boasts more than 65,000 pet sitters on the platform. The company, which we ran into at CES earlier this month, was also mentioned as one of seven possible companies from Washington state that could test the IPO waters in 2017, according to CB Insights.
“While this may be our last round before a public offering, there is nothing about where we are at that makes me think we are maturing as a business in terms of seeing growth slow down, or that we’ve somehow reached our potential,” Easterly said in October.
During the first half of 2016, Rover announced that it surpassed an annual run rate of $100 million in gross billings. Total revenue for the period grew by around 3X from 2015, Easterly said.
In the interview with Jim Cramer, Easterly called Rover a “tech business at heart.”
“Ultimately, we are a data business,” he said.
At least one person appears to be excited for Rover’s possible IPO. As the interview concluded, Cramer told his audience: “Private company, but, boy would the stock market love this one.”