Walking App “Wag” Gets $300 Million Investment from Unlikely Source
Photo: Devin Yalkin / The New York Times
The LA-based dog walking app Wag has received an enormous investment from an unlikely source – a Japanese banking conglomerate.

As if Wag wasn’t cool enough already, it’s about to get a lot cooler after receiving more than 4 times its total investment worth to date from SoftBank Vision Fund.

About Wag

Wag is an app that quickly connects Los Angeles-area pet owners with dog sitters and walkers in their area. It’s dog care on-demand. People can quickly find someone to care for their pup and can trust that their dog is in good hands, too.

Wag App
Photo: wagwalking.com

Wag’s app lets you choose from an array of dog walking candidates in your area, and also tracks the walks on a map using GPS. After each walk, the owner receives a photo of their happy pup.

The rates are flat, and typically one walk runs the owner about $20. Not too bad!

So why would a Japanese banking conglomerate want to invest $300 million into this app? Do they really care that much about dogs having happy walks and great dog-sitters?

That’s probably not the whole reason.

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About SoftBank

Softbank Vision Fund is one of the deepest-pocketed investors in the world. They like to invest in innovative and “disruptive” tech business who seek to “be the foundational platforms of the information revolution.” Basically, they invest in the future and prefer data-based technology.

SoftBank has about $100 billion in an investment pot and is managed by the Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son.

Their $300 million investment in Wag is more than 4 times Wag’s total funding of $68 million since its foundation in 2015.

SoftBank has been pretty quiet about their reasons for making this substantial investment, but it’s safe to say they probably like the app’s location-tracking abilities.

The Vision Fund is only just over a year old, and in that time they have focused on companies who collect and use certain types of data. This data can be used to transform crucial industries such as finance, food, and medicine.

Other examples of the Vision Fund’s investments include Compass (a New York real-estate platform), Vir Biotechnology (an infectious disease research and treatment company), Oyo (an Indian hotel network), and Uber (independent car drivers replacing taxicab companies). Uber is very similar to Wag in its location tracking and overall functionality.

Vision Fund’s Rajeev Misra stated during a previous investment into Mapbox that generating location data is “central and mission critical to the development of the world’s most exciting technologies.”

So if you live in the LA area and need a dog sitter or dog walker, Wag may be a good option for you. It seems like their services are only going to get about 300 million times better now!

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Cody has worked and volunteered with rescue animals her entire life. She worked as a veterinary assistant and technician in shelters, rescues, boarding facilities, doggy daycares and animal hospitals in New York and Chicago throughout her teens and twenties, and now resides as a pet foster mom in Upstate New York.