The Experts in Animal Health

This week’s newsletter highlights Blackstone’s acquisition of Rover Group, Inc, the world’s largest network of dog walkers and pet sitters, for $2.3 billion.  The Seattle-based company, started in 2011 with a simple plan of connecting pet parents with pet service providers via their app and website in North America and Europe.

Fast forward ten years to August 2021, shares of ROVR start trading on Nasdaq.  After weathering financial losses from decrease in pet sitting services during COVID pandemic, Rover saw strong recovery on accelerated demand due to workers’ return to office, increased travel and the ‘pandemic pet’ phenomenon.

Now, Rover is acquired for billions of dollars.  From 2011 through the end of September this year, more than 93 million services have been booked by more than 4 million pet parents through 1 million pet care providers paid across North America and Europe.  Most of this growth has come organically – by word of mouth.

After a recent knee surgery, I used Rover for the first time to avoid inconveniencing friends and family with dog duties.  The app was easy to navigate, the booking process was simple, and found several well-qualified dog walkers.  I had an immediate need and Rover provided an elegant solution.

Today’s pet owners are willing to pay premium prices for high-quality care, flexibility, and convenience.  And today, Blackstone is willing to pay a lot of money for a pet services app.  Which app is next?

Richard Hayworth

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