Both had a very similar model, with a marketplace for pet sitting, dog walking and other pet-care services. Each take about a 20 percent cut from bookings. Total bookings on the combined sites amounted to $150 million for 2016. The growing businesses are not yet profitable.
One of the new focuses will be to expand internationally. DogVacay already does well in Canada, which Easterly was enthusiastic about. They also plan to grow their dog-walking business and potentially introduce other pet-related categories.
Enter Pickles — a snorting, wheezing, wiggling 15 pounds of smoosh-face French bulldog bliss that is technology’s answer to my dog dilemma. Using a new app called Bark’N’Borrow, an Uber-type matchmaking service, we borrowed Pickles recently for an overnight dose of dog companionship.
The idea behind Bark’N’Borrow and other new dog-service apps like Rover and Dog Vacay is to create a community of dog lovers both with and without dogs — pairing those who crave canine companionship with dogs that could use a little more people time. Bark’N’Borrow also connects dog owners for pooch playdates and has a portal for potential dog-sitter matches as well. Rover and Dog Vacay, meanwhile, offer boarding options for pets in people’s homes rather than a kennel.
A similar service in Britain and Ireland called BorrowMyDoggy has amassed thousands of users and more than 200,000 Facebook fans in the three years it has been operating. The San Francisco-based start-up Walkzee has also been met with widespread approval for pairing people with animal shelter dogs to take for walks. Walkzee has been in beta-testing for several months in more than 100 shelters across America and went live to the public this fall.