Wag!, an app that provides dog owners with instant access to quality dog walkers, announced today that they've raised a $2.45 million seed round. This funding also coincides with their official launch in San Francisco, CA. The round was led by Freestyle Capital (freestyle.vc), and other participants including Crunchfund, Dave Morin's Slow Ventures , Social Leverage, and RRE.
The funds will be used to fuel Wag!’s expansion into additional major US markets beyond Los Angeles, CA and, now, San Francisco. The investment will also be used to expand the product offering & services.
“This is just the beginning,” said Jason Meltzer, Wag!’s co-founder and Chief Dog Officer. “We’re on our way to improving the lives of millions of dogs and dog owners.”
Launched in LA earlier this year, Wag! has already seen rapid demand in cities around the country. The pet industry has increased in the past few years, with an estimated $60.59 billion expenditure projected for 2015. This growth has brought a variety of specialized pet services and products, largely the result of a “pet parenting” attitude among owners.
With apps like Zingy and Swifto competing in the market, Wag! offers owners tracking and safety for their dogs.
“We like to think of ourselves at the Uber of dog walking. Essentially, we have placed a trusted and insured dog walker in your pocket, and for the first time your dog has its own app on your phone,” said founder Josh Viner.
Dog walkers can be summoned up to 30 minutes in advance, or scheduled regularly, and walks can be tracked through GPS in real-time. Users may also schedule a “meet and greet” with their walker ahead of time. A “report card” is delivered through the app at the end of each walk including a picture, map of the walk, and behavior report. They also receive a “pee & poo” record and any notes the walker may need to communicate. Currently the cost is $20 per dog for each half hour walk with an additional $5 per dog in the same household. And there's one more thing: for every mile a dog walks with Wag!, 10 cents is donated to the Best Friends Foundation.
Wag! will be expanding to NY in the next two weeks.
Image Credit: Flickr/Kristine Paulus