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Rover.com Announces $65M Funding Round, Plans Expansion

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It expects strong growth this year.

SEATTLE – Rover.com announced a $65 million round of funding that it plans to put toward expanding internationally and launching new services and tools for sitters and owners.

The financing round was led by Spark Capital and includes new investors Bespoke Strategies and StepStone Group. Existing shareholders Madrona Venture Group, Menlo Ventures, Foundry Group, OMERS Ventures and Technology Crossover Ventures also participated in the financing.

“We are delighted to partner with Aaron and the Rover team as they continue to build the world’s largest marketplace for pet services,” said Megan Quinn, general partner at Spark Capital. “The Rover platform has taken what was once a highly fragmented, distributed network of pet sitters and dog walkers and made arranging care an easy and secure experience. What is particularly unique about Rover is the deep well of vetted, reviewed caretakers they’ve cultivated over time that they can continue to leverage to offer additional services and enter new markets.”

As part of this round, Quinn will join Rover’s board of directors.

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Rover said in a press release that it expects a 200 percent increase in net revenue in 2017. The company’s network of vetted sitters has grown more than 100 percent year-over-year to more than 140,000 throughout North America. More than 100,000 of the company’s sitters also offer dog-walking services on the platform.

“We find that people are increasingly looking for quality, technology-enabled services to make their lives easier and more enjoyable, and Rover is leading this movement for the pet care industry,” said Aaron Easterly, CEO of Rover. “With this significant funding from new and returning investors, we will continue to innovate on ways we can make it easier for pet parents to find and book every day pet care. Additionally, our global expansion will give people around the world the ability to know the love and joy of owning a pet.”

Rover recently acquired DogVacay and has since then been testing its platform in Canada.

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Dogs May Be More Perceptive Than We Ever Realized, Study Finds

Even untrained strays can read human gestures.

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Dogs seem to be able to interpret human gestures even when they’ve had no training, a new study has found.

As any dog owner knows, pet canines understand commands and gestures with ease. A group of researchers set out to determine whether these capabilities are innate or require training, according to a report from Frontiers Science News.

The researchers looked specifically at pointing, with Dr. Anindita Bhadra of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, India, and colleagues studing stray dogs in several Indian cities.

“The researchers approached solitary stray dogs and placed two covered bowls on the ground near them,” Frontieers Science News reports. “A researcher then pointed to one of the two bowls, either momentarily or repeatedly, and recorded whether the dog approached the indicated bowl.”

About 80 percent of participating dogs successfully followed pointing gestures.

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“We thought it was quite amazing that the dogs could follow a gesture as abstract as momentary pointing,” Bhadra was quoted saying. “This means that they closely observe the human, whom they are meeting for the first time, and they use their understanding of humans to make a decision. This shows their intelligence and adaptability.”

The research was published in Frontiers in Psychology.

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State Considers Banning ‘No Pets’ Rental Listings

Some landlords are not happy about the proposed legislation.

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New Hampshire legislators are considering a ban on “no pets” notices in property listings.

Proposed legislation would forbid landlords and home sellers from barring pet owners, the Concord Monitor reports.

They could make rules related to pet deposits, noise control, sanitation and safety, according to the newspaper. But they could set make rules based on size, breed or appearance.

The legislation was proposed by state Rep. Ellen Read, a Democrat from Newmarket. It has drawn opposition from some landords who say it could lead to unsanitary conditions as well as allergy problems for some residents.

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But Julia Seeley, New Hampshire state director for the Humane Society, said her organization supports the bill.

We just strongly believe that a family should not be torn apart simply over housing,” she said.

Read more at the Concord Monitor

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Spotify Rolls Out Music Playlists for Pets

Pets seem to favor classical music and soft rock.

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Digital music service Spotify had a hunch that people were playing tunes for their pets.

A study by the company found that 71% of pet owners did exactly that. The survey included 5,000 music-streaming pet owners from the U.S., the UK, Australia, Spain and Italy.

The company explains:

That being said, we created a unique experience to help you craft the pawfect algorithmically generated playlist for you and your pet to enjoy together. Head to spotify.com/pets for a playlist you can share with your dog, cat, iguana, hamster, or bird.

See the graphic below for more details from the survey.

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