Investments

SoftBank Invests $300M In Wag

Wag Labs, a startup that connects dog walkers with dog owners through an app, is receiving $300 million in funds from SoftBank’s Vision Fund.

According to Bloomberg, it was also announced that Hilary Schneider, former chief executive of LifeLock, is replacing current CEO and co-founder Joshua Viner, who will remain involved in the company.

Wag’s smartphone app connects dog owners with dog walkers, who are vetted and tested on their dog walking skills. Owners are able to request a walker immediately or schedule future walks. The company then provides customers with a lockbox for their keys, and walkers are given the code so they can pick up the dog.

Sources said that while Wag had originally looked for $100 million from venture capitals, SoftBank’s fund convinced the startup to accept $300 million and use the funds to expand globally and compete against rivals, such as Rover. In fact, SoftBank was initially considering investing in the Seattle-based Rover, which also connects dog owners with walkers, but ultimately decided to fund Wag.

As part of the deal, SoftBank’s managing partner, Jeffrey Housenbold, and senior investor Ted Fike will join Wag’s board. Housenbold will serve as Wag’s chairman.

Schneider, Wag’s new CEO, is coming in to assist with boosting the company’s image and improving customer trust.

In December, Shervin Pishevar, who had been acting as Wag’s chairman, resigned after a series of sexual misconduct allegations. And there have also been customer complaints that Wag’s walkers have lost dogs, with one Long Island customer claiming that the company tried to bribe her after a dog walker lost her Beagle-Labrador mix.

Then, earlier this month, it was revealed that information such as client addresses and lockbox codes was accidentally exposed on the company’s web pages.

“Wag has prioritized the security of our customers at each stage of the company’s development” and has security processes and policies in place, the company said at the time.

Wag was valued at $200 million in April 2017.

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