One of the tech world’s deepest-pocketed investors has been scouring the globe to find and fund the technologies that are building the future. SoftBank Vision is investing $300 million in on-demand walking and dog care startup Wag. Wag has also brought on Hilary Schneider, formerly of identity theft protection company LifeLock, to serve as the company’s new chief executive officer.
Wag, which launched back in 2015, offers on-demand walking and boarding for pets. The startup initially launched in Los Angeles and New York City before expanding to more than 100 cities across the country. Using their background in building consumer tech companies and scaling them to millions of users, Josh and his brother Jon founded Wag! with the mission to make it easier to own a dog. Wag’s goal is to be your dog’s button on your phone.
Inspired by Uber, Wag says it wants to revolutionize an industry that has long relied on word-of-mouth referrals and lamp-post advertisements. Wag charges about $20 for a half-hour dog walk in New York, Chicago, Austin, and Seattle. The startup takes up to 40 percent commission to connect dog owners with on-demand walkers.
Last year, Wag was reportedly in talks with a handful of investors, including NEA and Kleiner Perkins. SoftBank was interested but reportedly didn’t want to invest in a round less than $300 million. That’s when NEA and Kleiner Perkins reportedly dropped out. With the new funding, Wag will join an exclusive club of beneficiaries of SoftBank’s mammoth $93 billion Vision Fund that includes Uber, WeWork, Slack and Didi Chuxing The investment will give SoftBank a 45% stake in Wag, according to Recode.
The Growing Business of Dog Walking
According to IBISWorld, the dog-walking business is around $907 million, and the market is growing by 3% every year.
In general, dog walkers can earn around roughly $200 a week. The charges depend on the experience and rating of the dog walker. Dog walking, Dog sitting and Dog boarding apps are making it easier than ever for pet owners to own a pet and also popularizing dog walking, boarding and sitting as part-time jobs.
On-Demand Apps to the rescue
Dog walking apps are another powerful and practical manifestation of on-demand app services. They opening up lucrative part-time money earning avenues for dog lovers and are revolutionizing the way dog owners get care services for their pet. The sheer market size of this industry is too big to ignore. The news of Softbank interested in investing $300 million in Wag should be a boost for any startup building their own on-demand dog walking app.
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