Pet-sitting startup Rover snags new HQ with room for 500 people – plus their dogs


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Rover is getting a new dog house. The Seattle pet-sitting marketplace is leasing the top five floors of the 8th + Olive building in downtown Seattle for a new headquarters, GeekWire has learned. The 91,150-square-foot space will have room for more than 500 employees, as well as the dozens of dogs that will join them at work everyday.

Jovana Teodorovic, Rover’s head of people and culture, said the company is bursting at the seams with the majority of its 412 employees, and their dogs, crammed into a nearly 50,000-square-foot space in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. Though the new office won’t be ready until the end of next year, Rover was able to get access to one of its five floors at 8th + Olive right away to relieve its space crunch.

“We have gotten used to being close to each other, which we love, but having more space for people and dogs to focus on what they are working on,” will be helpful, Teodorovic said.

Rover’s move is the latest sign of the booming tech economy in the Seattle region, following a string of IPOs and major funding rounds this spring.

Born out of a Startup Weekend event in 2011, Rover now operates one of the most popular pet sitting platforms in the U.S. and Canada. In May Rover raised a whopping $155 million . It was one of the largest investments in a Washington company ever, and it brought the so-called Airbnb for pets to more than $310 million raised.

Rover, ranked No. 18 on the GeekWire 200, is frequently mentioned as an IPO candidate. The company demurred when asked about going public, instead emphasizing Rover’s plans to bring its service to even more markets.

Rover is expanding internationally and recently announced a new European headquarters. Teodorovic said Rover just launched in the United Kingdom.

As it grows, Rover is facing stiff competition from Wag. The Los Angeles-based pet care service raised a massive $300 million round from Japanese tech giant SoftBank.

Rover acquired one of its top competitors, DogVacay , last year. Rover brought the team under its umbrella, increasing the supply of dog sitters and demand for services on Rover, and shuttered DogVacay, something the two companies agreed on as part of the deal.

Seattle’s tech boom is making it tough for fast-growing companies like Rover to find space. Real estate company Kidder Mathews reports that the percentage of vacant office space in the region hit a 10-year low in the second quarter, coming at 6.8 percent.

A balanced market is around 10 percent vacancy, and anything below that favors landlords and leads to rising rents. In recent years, Amazon has gobbled up pretty much every available building, driving down vacancy. Kidder Mathews reports there are only 25 blocks of space over 50,000 square feet available in the entire Seattle area.

When Rover moves into the 20-story 8th + Olive building, it will join other tech companies like Airbnb, which recently opened a permanent office there, and Avvo. The company is still designing its new office, but Teodorovic said it will definitely be dog-centric.

“We have a lot of different doggie gates and different things around all our desks throughout the whole office,” Teodorovic. “We’ve been really crafty and scrappy with our solutions in our current office, and now we’re actually getting customized solutions that are going to be both attractive and really useful.”

As companies grow, they often cobble together the office as they go, making them unable to put in some of the features they really want. In the case of Rover, the company has a lot of meetings, and the new space will have a lot more conference and meeting rooms.

As tech companies continue to compete for top talent, office space has become a key perk. In addition to five floors of office space, Rover will also occupy the roof of 8th + Olive, which will have plenty of dog-friendly features and spots for employees to get away.

Based on its jobs page, it looks like Rover will have no problem filling up its new space. It has a total of 67 open positions, most of which are in Seattle. It is also looking to staff up offices in Spokane, Wash. and Berlin. As it expands internationally, Rover is looking for a country launch manager and a head of Canada.

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