Dog-care tycoon raises $15 million

Pet sensation DogVacay hopes to capture more marketshare through investment

By Alice Truong

Published October 10, 2013 2:40PM (EDT)

In America, where there are more dogs than there are children, pet care is estimated to be an $11 billion industry. But given the market's fragmentation, DogVacay cofounder and CEO Aaron Hirschhorn is hoping to capture more marketshare. The company announced Thursday it raised a $15 million series B round led by Foundation Capital––bringing the total amount raised to $22 million––to build out customer service, engineering, and product management.

The Santa Monica, Calif. company has had more than 10,000 hosts––people who pet sit and board dogs––in the U.S. and Canada. On average, pet parents pay $28 a night to board their dogs. "Our focus from day one, and it continues to be finding the best hosts, and training, educating, and supporting them using a mix of high–tech customer service," Hirschhorn told Fast Company, referring to the host community team, which reviews applications and trains new hosts, and the concierge program that launched in May to help pet parents find hosts, a feature especially helpful for people who have dogs with special needs.

The year before DogVacay launched in 2012, Hirschhorn and his wife had looked after more than 100 dogs. Though he said DogVacay will spend a "teeny bit on marketing," the company has in the past relied largely on word–of–mouth referrals. "We're really excited about the pet–services industry in general. That includes not just dog boarding and dog sitting. Dog walking and daycare is a big opportunity as well. We'll invest in serving that in a seamless way," he said.

Alice Truong

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Aaron Hirschhorn Dogvacay Pet Care Industry Pets Start-ups