Dog grooming services are out of Rover’s market, at least for now.
Citing labor market challenges, the Seattle-based company confirmed Monday that it will no longer offer home care in the 14 cities where the service has expanded since its debut more than two years ago.
GeekWire learned of the decision over the weekend from a Rover customer in Seattle who unsuccessfully tried to book a grooming appointment. The company released this statement in response to our request:
“Through the grooming option offered on our platform in 14 cities, thousands of pet owners have arranged high quality grooming for their pets. Many pet owners have told us that they appreciate the ability to have their pets groomed by experienced providers in the comfort of their own home.
“Dog grooming is technical and requires a specific skill set, and there is currently a labor shortage in this specific industry. Given the realities of this aspect of the labor market, we do not believe the time is right to expand this offer. We will continue to look for ways to address the grooming market opportunity in the future.
Rover said he does not expect any layoffs associated with the decision.
The Seattle-based company’s marketplace connects pet owners with service providers who can house, walk or care for their pets, often while they’re in the office or traveling.
Rover launched dog grooming services in June 2019, after nine months of testing, out of Seattle and Austin, Texas. The idea was to leverage Rover’s existing infrastructure to disrupt the $2.5 billion pet grooming industry, using online scheduling and other features in its marketplace.
Bringing home groomers promised more convenience for pet owners and comfort for pets.
But the service did not prove to be financially viable for the company.
Rover CEO Aaron Easterly announced the move in response to a question about the company’s November 8 earnings call. He said Rover had seen strong interest in grooming but not the return he wanted.
“With grooming, we were very excited about the opportunity to address some pain points for pet parents. And the feedback from the demand side of this offering has been very positive,” Easterly said at the time.
He added: “That being said, we are not excited about the possibility of scaling the business as a whole and the profitability that comes with it. We therefore plan to research alternatives to address these customer issues in the future. »
The decision stands in contrast to Rover’s overall business growth.
The company’s revenue hit $35 million in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30, up 31% from the same quarter two years ago, before the pandemic. Quarterly gross bookings increased 35% to $157.1 million over the same two-year period.
Rover is also expanding into other areas, with a greater focus on cat services such as boarding and walk-in sitters. Cat-related bookings were up 79% in the third quarter, compared to two years ago.
The company, born a decade ago at a Startup Weekend event in Seattle, went public in August through a merger with Nebula Caravel Acquisition Corp, a US-listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). scholarship sponsored by True Wind Capital. Rover has raised $240 million under the SPAC deal.
Rover reported a net loss of $84.5 million in the third quarter, which it largely attributes to non-cash accounting adjustments related to this SPAC transaction.
Without those expenses, Rover posted operating profit of $710,000 and adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) of $6.6 million, its second consecutive quarter of profitability by this measure.