DogVacay has been assigned a tagline by the press that sounds a little ridiculous when you hear it — “the Airbnb for pets” — but the business itself is actually a very practical one. The Los Angeles-based startup runs a marketplace to let pet owners easily find and book local pet sitters to take care of their dogs when they go out of town.
Today, DogVacay is launching its first ever mobile app that lets you book a dog-sitting stay with an offering for the iPhone and iPod touch. It’s a pretty straightforward launch that brings all the functionality of DogVacay’s website down to the iOS form factor, but DogVacay CEO Aaron Hirschhorn told me in an interview that he expects the mobile launch to have a significant impact on how both owners and sitters use the service.
“Our business has always been around providing peace of mind to dog owners, with things like our vetting process and insurance, so this is the next level of that,” Hirschhorn said. “Now when you’re on vacation and your dog is on his own ‘vacation’, you can message with the sitter and really easily get photos.”
The mobile app also lets dog owners search for sitters and book reservations while on the go. “It’s a fully functioning app that does everything the website does,” Hirschhorn said. He added that the company plans to roll out an Android version in the future as well.
DogVacay, which has 42 full-time staff, has raised some $7 million in VC funding since it was founded last year and launched out of the L.A. incubator Science. Its most comparable rival startup is Rover, which is also aiming to become the kennel alternative of choice for the peer-to-peer generation.
I stopped by DogVacay’s headquarters in Santa Monica earlier this summer to check out the company’s dog-friendly digs in person. To see Hirschhorn talk about DogVacay’s growth so far and vision for the future, watch the video embedded below: