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Originally published March 12, 2014 at 5:25 PM | Page modified March 14, 2014 at 6:39 AM

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Rover.com lands $12M more in financing

The Seattle-based online website, which connects dog owners with dog sitters nationwide, plans to use the latest funding round to expand its workforce and offerings.


Seattle Times business reporter

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Seattle-based Rover.com, the online website that connects dog owners with dog sitters, has secured $12 million in its third round of financing, allowing the company to increase its employee head count and expand its products offerings.

This round was led by California-based Menlo Ventures, whose investments include Uber, Tumblr and Roku, and brings Rover’s total funding to nearly $25 million. Existing investors Madrona Venture Group, Foundry and Petco also participated.

The 3-year-old company had an 800 percent increase in revenue in 2013 and now lists 25,000 pet sitters spread across all 50 states — up from 10,000 across 40 states in 2012. Revenue figures were not disclosed.

“This business, to me, is very personal,” CEO Aaron Easterly said in talking about finding an overnight sitter for Caramel, his Pomeranian. “As a tech executive, I had this problem for a decade. I would frantically go through the Rolodex of friends and neighbors every time I had a business trip.”

Easterly said he thinks Rover.com’s business is just a fraction of the size it will be next year — “and an even smaller fraction of what we will be two years from now.”

Rover.com grew out of a bad experience founder Greg Gottesman had leaving his yellow Labrador Ruby Tuesday at a traditional kennel. Gottesman, who is a managing director of Madrona Venture Group, pitched Rover at a Startup Weekend in Seattle in June 2011. His idea received top prize and six months later he launched Rover.com.

This year, the company plans to continue expanding its services around the country and hopes to double its 43-person staff. Rover also plans to add other animals to the service, including cats, horses, reptiles and even the occasional pot belly pig, which Easterly said he has seen pop up on the website.

“We think there is a need with all animals — dogs in particular have social need that other animals may not,” he said. “But there is need for other animals, too. ... We want to solve this need for anyone who gets joy out of pet companionship.”

It costs between $20 and $40 per night for a pet sitter through Rover.com, 15 percent of which goes to the company. Prices vary depending on the animal’s needs — food, level of attention and exercises. It is also usually more expensive in metropolitan areas, Easterly said.

Last year, Rover.com entered a partnership with pet-products retailer Petco, which promotes Rover’s services in many of its retail stores and online, Easterly said.

Petco led last year’s funding round, and Ted Root, its vice president of business development, currently sits on Rover’s s board of directors.

Menlo Ventures’ Sunil Raman and Venky Ganesan will also join the board.

“It turns out that there are a lot of pet owners in this country, and Rover allows families to quickly coordinate overnight pet care,” Raman said. “After getting to know Aaron and his team, we were certain this was a passionate group chasing a huge market opportunity.”

Coral Garnick: 206-464-2422 or cgarnick@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @coralgarnick



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