Things Get Messier For Tech Firm That Raised $300 Million For Dog Walking
Wag, a dog-walking startup which began with a mission to provide dog-owners accessibility to their dog walkers was started by brothers, Jonathan and Joshua Viner in 2015. The business which took off very well got Softbank lending of $300 million in January 2018. More than one and half years later, the tech unicorn finds itself in a messier situation.
The on-demand startup had to go through a number of challenges such as training workers, handling canine unpredictability and their reaction in the context of a stranger walking them over. Several cases of missing dogs, dog abuse or dog deaths were reported against the company. A few former employees spoke about inconsistencies on several aspects of company management.
The Viners began to lose control with expansion in the company; the staff was not equipped or trained to handle untoward incidents with regard to the canines. The appointment of Schneider in the CEO’s role was hoped to improve things at the company. The Viners left soon after her appointment to start a new venture and their co-founder Jason Meltzer too followed into their footsteps.
Analysts have cited several reasons for the company’s sad state of affairs, one being the lack of connect of Schneider with the product and the company and absence of a viable strategy for making it a profitable venture. Schneider changed company headquarters and initiated a series of cutbacks. The Softbank investment failed to spur growth. Company sales dipped low in Q2 of 2019.
The increased number of layoffs, the launch of call center services put off customers and left the confidence of existing employees shaken. Some are hopeful that things will improve and the company will still succeed. All said and done, the company’s dip in growth has benefited direct competitor Rover which too had begun as a canine boarding service provider. The company failed to cash in on the Softbank deal.