Rover partners up with Petco to reach more dog owners, gets $3.5M strategic investment

In the war to own the dog-sitting market, it’s been a battle between technology and familiarity. On one side, there’s Rover and DogVacay, venture-backed startups with designs on bringing software-based convenience, efficiency, and affordability to this multi-billion dollar market. On the otherside, there are hundreds of local small business kennels and pet care services, as well as and little Timmy, the neighbor who lives down the block.

Kennels and boutique dog sitting services are familiar, but expensive and not always the most comforting place to leave your pet. Timmy has the advantage of being local, working for pennies, and not requiring any tech-savviness to book, but also doesn’t offer insurance or many amenities. The startup marketplaces often offer the best of all worlds, including affordable prices and a friendly dog-lover to take care of your furry family member, as well as insurance, 24/7 veterinary consultations, pet geo-tracking, and photo- and video-based doggie diaries, but trail in awareness relative to more traditional care options.

“Our view is that there’s a big difference between having a place for your dog to go and having a place where someone will love having your dog be there,” says Rover CEO Aaron Easterly.

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