Pets are increasingly considered as irreplaceable family members, especially among millennials who are willing to spend more on improving their pet’s health and quality of life. Even if a person is restrained from owning a pet due to various reasons (such as financial, time, and other constraints), on-demand pet care tech can fulfill the desire to have the company of a pet only in their leisure time, all while earning an income. As a result, on-demand pet care services have emerged to digitally connect pet owners to a network of pet care service providers such as 1) mobile-based platforms that connect pet owners with dog walkers, pet boarding, pet sitting, etc., and 2) digital veterinary platforms that provide on-demand video consultation services.
Demand for on-demand pet care, such as dog walking and pet sitting, declined due to lockdowns and social distancing rules.
Rover, one of the largest players in the industry, laid off 41% of its workforce in March 2020 however, revenue increased during the latter part of the year amidst increased pet adoption during the pandemic
Demand for veterinary telehealth services have spiked, with several operators ( Fuzzy Vet Health, Bond Vet, FirstVet, and AirVet), reporting a substantial revenue growth
The on-demand pet care market comprises pet care service companies and veterinary telehealth services that digitally connect pet owners with pet service providers. Wag and Rover are the leading startups in the on-demand pet care services segment, and the companies do not face competition from established traditional players. Wag also remains a dominant player in the on-demand veterinary telehealth services segment along with WhiskerDocs; however, startups in this segment face competition from a few hospitals and pet retailers. Most companies in the industry are at the seed stage due to the nascent nature of the industry.
The digital pet care market consists of several disruptors that operate in on-demand pet care services and on-demand veterinary telehealth services, the largest being Wag and Rover. Given the success of these two companies (with more than USD 300 million in funds raised, respectively) many startups have emerged in the market offering various services over the past couple of years. While few companies have remained in the market, many have succeeded by capitalizing on the concept of a gig economy. Apart from a few leading players, funding of other startups has typically been less than USD 50 million, and they have yet to see growth in the on-demand pet care market space.
Rover, is a pet-care service provider which operates through online and mobile platforms connecting pet-owners with pet-care service providers that offer pet boarding and sitting services, dog daycare, dog-walking, and drop-in visits. As of February 2021, the company reportedly served more than two million pet-owners and 500,000 service providers across North America and Europe. In Q2 2019, Rover recorded sales of nearly five times that of Wag’s with almost identical customer retention rates, which indicated Rover’s leading position.
In May 2018, Rover raised USD 155 million led by T. Rowe Price (a global asset management firm), marking its largest funding round. The funds were utilized for accelerating expansion into Europe, entering Latin American region and expanding into cat-care services (in April 2019). In line with its expansion strategies, Rover also acquired DogBuddy (a UK-based dog walking, boarding, and daycare company) in October 2018. With this acquisition, Rover marked its presence in the UK, France, Italy, Germany, and several other EU countries. In November 2020, the company entered into partnership with Walmart, where Walmart.com promotes Rover under Walmart Petcare. In a similar effort, Rover entered into a partnership with pet retailer Petco in February 2022, where Petco promotes Rover under petco.com and Petco's Vital Care membership program.
In August 2021, Rover went public via the SPAC route with Nebula Caravel Acquisition Corp. valued at USD 1.35 billion.
For the full-year 2021 (FY2021), the company reported a revenue growth of USD 109.8 million (125% YoY growth). Adjusted EBITDA was USD 12.4 million in FY2021 (vs. an adjusted EBITDA loss of USD 25 million in FY2020). On the back of slower consumer demand reported in Q2 2022, the firm downgraded its full-year revenue guidance for 2022 to range between USD 160 million and USD 166 million (46%–51% YoY growth) from between USD 160 million and USD 180 million (46%–64% YoY growth); and adjusted EBITDA guidance was also revised down and is estimated to range between USD 10 million and USD 14 million (negative 19%–13% YoY growth) from USD 17 million and USD 21 million (37%–69% YoY growth).
On-demand pet care services:
On-demand veterinary telehealth services:
The on-demand pet care tech space has yet to see major interest from traditional or established companies. However, in the on-demand veterinary services segment, a few hospitals have entered the market through partnerships with companies providing telemedicine services. Most of these services are, however, provided to existing clients as a premium service. Apart from veterinary hospitals, a pet retailer (PetCo) has also entered the market by acquiring a pet telehealth platform.
No investor data is available