Rover dips a paw into Latin America, backing Brazilian pet care startup DogHero in $7M round

(DogHero Photo)

Rover, the Seattle-based pet-sitting marketplace, is jumping into Latin America for the first time, investing in a leading pet startup.

Rover is leading a $7 million funding round for DogHero, Latin America’s top pet care marketplace. DogHero has 800,000 registered pets and 16,000 dog hosts and walkers in 750 cities across Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.

For Rover, the deal gives the company “visibility” into Latin America and furthers its ambition to be the “global leader in the pet care space,” said Megan Teepe, vice president and general manager of international business at Rover. Just under a year ago, Rover expanded to Europe and followed that up by acquiring U.K.-based dog care company DogBuddy.

DogHero co-founder Eduardo Baer told GeekWire in an interview that “We’ve always looked up to Rover; we’ve admired the company since the beginning.” The two companies have built a strong relationship over the years, united under a similar mission to make it easier to own and care for pets, with the DogHero leadership team visiting Rover’s offices in Seattle several times.

Latin America is a huge market for companies such as Rover and DogHero with more than 100 million dogs, according to Rover. Brazil alone has more than 52 million dogs, putting it second behind only the U.S. in terms of pup population.

“We see this investment as a way to come and learn more about what it takes to operate in the Latin American market and to do that through the eyes of the current market leader in that geography,” Teepe said.

The funding round, which also included participation from Mexican venture capital firm IGNIA Partners, will allow DogHero to roll out a new dog-walking service in more cities while also growing its core dog boarding business. The 58-person company is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and it has now raised about $13 million in its five-year lifespan.

Rover has raised a total of $310 million in its lifetime, including a $155 million round in May 2018 and a $65 million round in July 2017. Rover has put that money to work on acquisitions, including DogBuddy late last year and DogVacay in 2017. But this is the first investment of its kind for Rover.

Rover, one of the most valuable Seattle startups, has grown to 475 employees as of October, and it is expanding its real estate offerings to hold all these people, and their pets. The company is building a new headquarters in Seattle with room for 700 people and a major European hub as well.

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