Site for Fido gets funding

Dogster gets $1 million from angel investors, who surely are hoping for better returns than those of the Pets.com era.

Dogster, a San Francisco-based company that launched online dog- and cat-oriented communities in 2004, has secured its first round of funding.

The company, which said it has been profitable since mid-2005, announced on Wednesday $1 million in funding, which was led by Michael Parekh, the founder of Goldman Sachs' Internet research effort.

Other investors in the round include HotOrNot's Jim Young, SoftTech venture capitalist Jeff Clavier and Delicious founder Joshua Schacter, among others.

Dogster, which runs both the Dogster.com and Catster.com communities, has focused since its founding on providing social connectivity for pet owners. The sites let owners make free Web pages for their pets, share photos and stories and make friends with other animal lovers.

"While Dogster was created to make an online home for every dog and cat lover, we've also created a vibrant community that has shown incredible online growth in our first years," Dogster founder and CEO Ted Rheingold founder said in a statement. "Adding this investment to our current revenue means we will be able to introduce features at a much faster pace and be able to offer our services and community support to a much larger audience."

The company makes its money from pet-related ads served to site visitors, and is just one of a growing number of popular pet-related sites such as Cute Overload, Cats in Sinks and many others.

The businesses and their investors are probably hoping to fetch better returns than did the first wave of Web sites focused on domestic animals. The ever-so-briefly publicly traded Pets.com , renowned for its sock-puppet mascot and its profligate spending on Super Bowl ads, was just one of a number of high-profile victims of the dot-com crash. Others in that unfortunate litter of pet-supply sites included Petopia and Petstore.com.

 

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