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Start-up DogVacay tackles $11 billion market

John Lund | Workbook Studios | Getty Images

If you've ever returned from vacation to pick up your dog from a kennel to find a massive multihundred-dollar bill and a very unhappy dog, you'll immediately understand the value of a start-up called DogVacay.

It's kind of like AirBNB for dogs, connecting dog owners to 10,000 screened and trained dog-sitters around the country. Hosts set their prices—usually about half as much as a kennel, and the company takes a 15 percent cut. The idea is that dogs will get better care—one on one attention—and the ability to take walks or frolic in the park. And dog-sitters usually send vacationing dog hosts photos or videos as proof.

DogVacay has a website and new mobile app, allowing users to book everything online. As for concerns about the safety of dogs, CEO Aaron Hirschhorn said the company addresses that in several ways. "We provide all the quality control; we have a five-step vetting process, comprehensive insurance, 24-hour customer support."