Wag, and its network of pup-loving independent contractors, were introduced in 2015 as the Uber of dog walking.
With much fanfare, the company quickly grew to 100 US cities and, after leashing $300m from Softbank’s deep-pocketed Vision Fund in 2018, the company was poised to be the global face of pet care tech.
But, since the investment, Wag’s rise has been stifled by multiple rounds of layoffs, dwindling market share, and a number of bad reviews, highlighting yet again how hard it is for a company to navigate the waters of expansion at warp speed — even with boatloads of SoftBank dough.
What they’re saying…
According to CNN, former employees claim that Hilary Schneider, the veteran tech exec who took over for Josh Viner as Wag’s CEO shortly after the SoftBank investment, is failing to grasp issues like growth, pet safety, and customer service.
The company has reportedly struggled to keep the safety of its customer’s dogs on a tight leash. In the past year, there have been at least 5 allegations of dogs being abused or dying while in the company’s care.
Plus, the company’s anticipated global launch has yet to take off — moving in to only 10 US cities since SoftBank took its 45% stake.
SoftBank’s thick wallet may not be the answer
Uber and Slack, which have also received funding from SoftBank, have underperformed on the stock market since going public this year, bringing SoftBank’s big money strategy into question.
With Wag’s woes, SoftBank’s spend lots, ask questions later mentality has taken another hit, leaving many to wonder whether it’s a recipe for market disruption — or business destruction.