Briefing

Another SoftBank investment in the doghouse as Wag looks to sell

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The Los Angeles-based dog-walking startup is reportedly discussing a sale for less than US$300 million. That’s less than half of its initial valuation of about US$650 million. (Bloomberg)

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Talking point: The investment conglomerate put US$300 million into Wag via its Vision Fund in January 2018, in exchange for 45 per cent of the company. That investment was meant to fuel international growth, but Wag struggled to maintain its U.S. market share compared to competitor Rover, whose second-quarter revenue grew 24 per cent, against Wag’s 12 per cent loss. It also floundered in its expansion efforts within the country, due in part to a series of customer service complaints, including lost and injured dogs. The company’s growing pains come as another blow to SoftBank’s ongoing effort to garner support for Vision Fund 2. The fund, which founder Masayoshi Son has said will focus on less risky investments than the original, has struggled to attract major investors thanks to fallout from struggling Vision Fund investments like WeWork and Uber.