Rover

Info

  • Founded in 2011, based in Seattle
  • Industry: Marketplace, Sharing Economy, C2C, Pets
  • Total funding: $310m from Madrona Venture Group, Spark Capital, Menlo Ventures and others

Rover connects pet owners with local pet sitters and dog walkers. On Rover, pet owners can easily find, book, and manage personalized care for their pets including pet sitting, dog walking and dog day care.

Challenge

At the end of 2017, Rover was the largest marketplace for pet sitting in the US, but as yet it didn’t have a footprint in Europe.

Rover was contending with a well-funded domestic rival as well as several smaller European competitors. Unless the company moved quickly these rivals threatened to pre-emt Rover’s expansion into the European market.

So Rover tasked Expansion Partner with developing a market entry strategy and a 5-year business plan for Europe. The plan was put into action and began with a successful launch in the UK.

Approach

Expansion Partner developed the European market entry strategy and business plan at Rover’s headquarters. Our presence in Seattle allowed us to gain an in-depth understanding of Rover’s business model and to determine how it could be adapted for the European market. We collaborated closely with key stakeholders including Rover’s CEO and COO in order to design a strong, tailor-made plan.

Led by Expansion Partner, Rover then opened an office in Berlin where it hired UK talent. This enabled Rover to launch the UK market remotely from Berlin in July 2018. Expansion Partner took care of every aspect of entity and office setup and helped with GDPR compliance. Our team members acted as General Manager, Head of Marketing and Head of Operations, driving demand and supply acquisition, PR, online marketing and localization.

Expansion Partner also supported Rover in their acquisition of DogBuddy—Europe’s largest dog-sitting marketplace—by consulting on all stages, from the strategic evaluation of the acquisition to the integration of the two platforms.

Result

Within five months Rover’s UK marketplace had taken off. The UK rollout attracted significant publicity—signalling to the competition that Rover was serious about its European expansion. This enabled subsequent strategic moves to be undertaken by Rover while making European expansion more difficult for its competition.

As a result of its launch in Europe, Rover has secured its place as the world’s leading dog-sitting platform, with European offices in Berlin, London, and Barcelona. This success was enabled by the dual approach of launching in the UK while acquiring DogBuddy. The strategy was developed and executed with Expansion Partner.