The Airbnb For Pets, DogVacay, Raises $6M From Benchmark

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DogVacay, which launched in March this year as an Airbnb for dogs, has raised $6 million in new funding from Benchmark Capital. This round comes after previous funding from incubator Science, First Round Capital, Science, Baroda, Quest, most recently Andreessen Horowitz. Benchmark partner Bill Gurley is joining DogVacay’s board of directors.

Founded by a husband and wife team, Aaron Hirschhorn and Karine Nissim Hirschhorn; LA-based DogVacay is a marketplace that matches dog owners in need of pet-care services with qualified animal caregivers. The startup was inspired by the couple’s desire to find a real, loving home for their own dogs, so that their boarding experience is as much a vacation as their owner’s.

DogVacay allows care providers to sign up for a free listing to match to dog owners who are looking for boarding and dog-sitting options. The platform gives hosts complete control, from setting their own rates, deciding what size and type of dogs to host, and more.

Each host is vetted via interviews and background checks with DogVacay staff before posting on the site, where the startup evaluates potential caregivers based on the amount of room in their homes, past experience and more. And DogVacay also includes user reviews for each host, social network connections, and will even train hosts in basic dog care.

Dog owners can sign up on the site and book services similar to the way you would book an apartment on Airbnb. In addition to boarding services, users can also find dog walkers, trainers, day-care, pet-sitting (in their own home), and other unique services like pet massage. DogVacay takes a 15 percent service fee from the host. And DogVacay offers full insurance covering the dog (up to $25,000) for a variety of emergencies.

As DogVacay has expanded, the service is moving beyond dogs. The aim is for the startup to be a full-fledged pet service provider. Since launching in March, DogVacay’s revenue has grown 60% month-over-month. The company says it is now the largest marketplace provider of home dog boarding and pet services in the country.

Gurley said in a release, “DogVacay is a remarkable two-sided marketplace. The consumer has an experience that is an order of magnitude better than the traditional solution, and simultaneously the supplier (sitter) receives substantial incremental income with relatively little investment. This powerful win-win for both parties creates a sustainable flywheel effect. DogVacay’s amazing earlier traction and trajectory is reminiscent of many of the successful marketplaces business we have backed.”

While at launch, DogVacay was only based in San Francisco and Los Angeles; the startup has since expanded nationwide, including Chicago, New York, and Canada. The funding will be used for international expansion, and will be used towards product development and hiring. The investment will also be used towards a mobile app, and to make additional services like dog walking, training and pet daycare available nationwide.

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