Dog-Walking Start-Up “Wag,” Grows Quickly– Personalization and Transparency are Key

Paresh Dave reported in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times that, “After selling his dating service ChirpMe to Europe’s Massive Media, Joshua Viner considered getting a dog. But whenever Viner talked about becoming a pet owner, people suggested he was too busy.

“Turns out, they were onto something.

Viner’s new start-up, Wag Labs Inc., has found a customer base in busy pet owners. It’s among the fastest-growing early-stage start-ups in the Los Angeles region, and Silicon Valley investors are giving the West Hollywood company a close look.”

The article indicated that, “Wag, now up to 40 employees, connects dog owners with walkers and groomers through online software. Other pet-centric start-ups such as Rover and DogVacay offer additional or competing services, including dog-sitting.

“But Viner, chief executive and co-founder, says Wag is gaining market share through personalization and transparency. Owners get digital notifications from the walker or groomer at every stage of the process. Even the exact spot where and time when a dog takes care of its business during a walk is marked on an app and shared with the owner. Owners can request a live video feed of the journey.

Wag takes as much as a 25% cut of walks, which run about $20 for 30 minutes, though special offers can reduce the payoffs. Viner declined to provide data about usage or sales.”

Yesterday’s L.A. Times article added that, “The company raised $2.45 million in initial funding from Greylock Partners, RRE Ventures, Structure Capital and others last year soon after launching in January 2015. Fresh funds could be essential as the company expands beyond its first handful of regions. Last week, Wag launched offerings in Denver and Portland, Ore.”

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