15 min read
By Jeff Davis
Published: 01/30/2018, edited: 01/30/2020
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 30, 2018 -- Wag!, the country's largest on-demand mobile dog walking and dog care service co-founded by brothers Joshua and Jonathan Viner, today announced a $300 million commitment by the SoftBank Vision Fund. The founders also recruited veteran technology executive Hilary Schneider as Chief Executive Officer.
Wag!, the on-demand dog walking and boarding app with service available 24 hours a day, was founded in 2015, launching in Los Angeles and New York City, before expanding to more than 100 cities nationwide.
The pet services industry, which was estimated to be a $69 billion market in the US in 2017 and $180 billion globally, is experiencing unprecedented growth. Wag! has serviced a consistently increasing number of walks that mirrors the market as a whole.
"We're thrilled to have a strategic partner in SoftBank, and welcome their experience scaling leading technology companies through their global vision and operating expertise," said Joshua Viner.
"We're also delighted to have recruited Hilary to join as CEO. Her track record in successfully building a number of consumer technology brands, combined with her love of dogs, makes her a perfect partner for us," said Jonathan Viner.
Most recently, Schneider served as CEO of LifeLock, the leader in identity theft protection. Schneider joined LifeLock before it went public and served through LifeLock's sale to Symantec for $2.3 billion in March 2017. Prior to LifeLock, she was Executive Vice President of Yahoo! Americas and EVP of Knight Ridder. She received her undergraduate degree from Brown and her MBA from Harvard. Schneider is a dog lover and parent of two Russian Black Terriers, Sadie and Zoe.
"I'm pleased to be joining the talented Wag! team," said Schneider. "Josh and Jon have built a nationally loved brand that enables the joy of pet parenting with an easy to use app. As the pet care industry experiences unprecedented growth, and with the SoftBank Vision Fund as a new investment partner, we look forward to enhancing our technology and service offerings to enable more people to keep their dogs happy and healthy."
Jeffrey Housenbold, SoftBank Investment Advisers Managing Partner, said, "The SoftBank Vision Fund invests in entrepreneurs who are leveraging the latest technology to transform existing industries and create new ones. Wag! is a clear leader in the rapidly growing global market for pet care services, and we're delighted to support their mission and team."
In connection with the investment in Wag!, Jeffrey Housenbold will become Chairman of the Board of Directors. Ted Fike, a senior investor at SoftBank Investment Advisers, will also join the Board.
Prior to the SoftBank Vision Fund's current investment, Wag! had raised approximately $68 million dollars in previous fundraising rounds. Investors include Battery Ventures, General Catalyst, Sherpa Capital, Bullpen Capital, and Freestyle Capital. Battery Ventures led a previous $40 million funding round Wag! in April 2017 and as part of the financing, Battery General Partner Roger Lee joined Wag!'s Board.
Founded in January 2015, Wag! is an on-demand mobile app that gives dog owners more flexibility to manage everyday life. It gives instant access to experienced and trustworthy dog walkers in owners' local communities that they can book at their convenience. Walks last 30 or 60 minutes and walkers are available 24/7. Wag! walks are insured and bonded and every walker has passed a thorough vetting process before being invited to walk dogs on the platform. Wag! is a proud sponsor of Rescue Bank and donates proceeds from every Wag! walk to supply meals to shelter dogs nationwide. Wag! also partners directly with local shelters in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City.
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