A Chat with Alexis Soulopoulos from Madpaws

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Gen caught up with Alexis Soulopoulos, CEO and co-founder of Mad Paws.

Mad Paws is a Sydney-based startup that was created to fill in the ever growing need in the pet boarding market for affordable, and local pet accommodation whilst still maintaining the care, love, and attention pets received at high-end, expensive, pet boarding services.

Watch the video or look below to read the transcript:


G: Hey guys, I’m Gen George. I'm here with Alexis from Mad Paws. Today we're going to be seeing some cute puppies (at some point I'm hoping, fingers crossed), but today we're going to be talking about two-sided marketplaces, all things start up and kind of the journey of Mad Paws. I'm going to hand over to the CEO and co-founder to tell a bit about his background and how Mad Paws kicked off. Over to you.

A: Hey guys! So my name is Alexis and I am originally from Belgium and I said, “You know what? Let's go study and let's go study in the other side of the world.” And that's how I came to Sydney where I was studying - and this was four and a half years ago.

G: Was it the beaches that attracted you?

[Laughter]

A: No, it was the kangaroos.

G: Really?

A: We had this TV show in Belgium, it's called Skippy with a kangaroo jumping around.

G: We had Skippy as well!

A: And so, anyway. There were no Skippies in my class. Actually, I didn’t see any Skippies for two years, but the point is: I was in a cool class, full of entrepreneurial people and I also got to travel a bit around the world and I just was really interested by this whole thing called entrepreneurship.

My real, first experience into entrepreneurship was I started a student association at the University of Sydney, which was kind of a success and we linked with companies to get internships and jobs. That's how I connected to one of the CEOs of Australia’s larger businesses and yeah we started discussing the the idea of Mad Paws because we were look… just looking at the sharing economy or everywhere in the world and we saw some very, very cool things happening: Uber, AirBnB, some smaller ones. I mean in the bed space and we said, “You know what? I think, we think Australia is an amazing market for this because the dog ownership the pet ownership is the highest in the world per capita and people spend a lot of money on their pets.”

That's really why we got into it - because people really, really love their animals here and that's a great thing to see and it's, it's really a problem for them: “What do I do with my cats, with my dog, with my rabbit, when I go and holidays?”

G: Yeah.

A: And so that's really the problem which we want to solve. You know, I went to the dog park, I spoke to dog owners, asked them, “What do you think of this idea?” and they absolutely loved it. They said, “Well if you can a build solution like that, this would revolutionize my life because at the moment, I don't put my dogs in a kennel and I don't want to harass my mom anymore - so yeah, that would be fantastic. And what we did then is we got a website developed, right? An absolute shitty website, by credit card, right?

[Laughter].

A: And look, it was, it was honestly MVP, but we did it very, very fast in two months; fast enough to really be ahead of the curve because after we launched, 20 other competitors launched in Australia as well.

G: Yeah.

A: So we had to be very, very fast.

G: Yeah.

A: And yeah, look, so my learning from that is honestly push these things out fast, you can get some market validations, you can get some customer testimonials and really start improving based on their feedback because the alternative is, develop for one year, develop for one-and-a-half years and I've seen that in the startup community and sometimes…

G: You can lose the market.

A: …especially in competitive markets such as this one. It's sometimes… look it was very annoying, very painful. The 10 users which were on my site were all calling me because, you know, “Alex this is the shittiest website ever,” but I was like, “No worries guys, I'll help you, hold your hand we're going to make these things happen and we're going to make sure we find the best possible pet sitter for you.”

G: And how many times have you actually looked after animals yourself?

A: Well, we do it all the time.

G: Yeah.

A: Did you see Charlie?

G: Yes.

A: We have a…

G: The cutest dog in the world by the way.

[Laughter]

A: We have a day care, we have a day care center within office. I’ll show you guys later. At the moment, we have a beautiful puppy called Charlie, who wanted to dance with Gen…

G: Yeah.

[Laughter]

A: …when she walked into the office.

G: Who's almost as tall as me, but so when you say “puppy”…

[Laughter]

A: Yeah, I know, she grew up super-fast. But yeah, that's what we do like…It's very, very important for us that all of our employees know what we are offering on our website and so we are offering day care ourselves.

G: Yeah.

A: So we're look after a number of puppies. Guys, you should check them out. We have like little husky puppies…all sorts of amazing puppies and not just puppies, great dogs as well. And yeah we actually give employee leave for pet sitting.

G: That’s great!

A: So our employees can do it twice a year, two days leave, extra for pet sitting at their homes.

G: Yeah. That’s fantastic. It's great to really live and breathe your values and what you're trying to get out there.

A: Absolutely.

G: So I mean, coming up with an MVP right? A lot of people…Do you do an app first? Do you do a website? You know how did you make that decision about getting something out there? The spaghetti bowl of code.

A: Yeah, yeah. I mean, look: it's probably different for different businesses. I’ve seen very amazing mobile first app, the first businesses. But for us, it was a website and it was the idea was, look, the technology is very important, but at the moment when we don't have much funds, we started with very little funds.

G: Yep.

A: It's really about getting something in the hands of the customer and the fastest thing to do is a website. Alright, because in the end, when pet owners need to find the pet sitter, contact them, chat to them and book them online, and pay online, and then review them, you know. The first thing we actually did was while the website was being developed and while I was bouncing with the developers, I've never seen a line of code before, which may have added to the spaghetti code…but I know…

G: Lessons learned.

[Laughter]

A: Yeah. I mean, look, again: the speed was crucial and also thank you so much for the developers because they’ve…they followed the brief doing it very, very fast.

G: Yeah.

A: And that's what we needed. But before that, we just launched a Weebly landing page, right? Just to get signups and so our very first pet sitter sign ups were from my connections from the University of Sydney because I was the president of the student society. I connected the president of the vets students society like, “Hey Matt, we are launching this website, it’s like Airbnb for cats and dogs you know and I'm sure that your vet students…,” right? Thousands amongst his network of vet students across universities, “have free time, wants to make some extra money and absolutely love animals. Do you mind sending emails to them?” And we did.

G: Yep.

A: And so our first 150 signed up pet sitters on the Weebly landing page created in two hours were these vet students and we didn't pay dollars for them, but it was a great story for investors to put in the first, you know, $100,000. These guys are launching this website now, it’s ready but it already comes with 150 pet sitters and by the way, it cost them zero dollars, cost them you know….

G: Yeah, customer acquisition.

A: …zero dollars for acquisition, what can they do if we give a bit of funding.

G: Yeah, definitely. So for controlling your support and demand for the two-sided marketplace is super hard. So obviously you went one side first.

[Laughter]

G: It's okay. How did you get that balance when you're first starting?

A: Well so the balance is we started at the University of Sydney around this arena, Ultimo, Darlington, Surry Hills…

G: Yep.

A: …and got a supply, got the pet sitters. And then we started getting demand here as well, with Google AdWords which is semi-targeted, with Facebook community, Facebook groups, the dog parks, Surry Hills dog park. But then, to be honest, because textbook will tell you how to do business and so on, two-sided marketplaces - what's important is liquidity. It's bringing the demand and supply together in one geography or more. So how do you achieve liquidity?

[Laughter]

G: So it’s about you so…

[Laughter]

A: So how do you get, how do we get liquidity? What’s the easiest way to get liquidity in the market is to geographically target. It's easier to build demand and supply you know in Surry Hills than demand and supply in the whole of Australia, right?

G: Yeah.

A: However, so that's what we started with, kind of working well. However, then 20 competitors were launching all over Australia…let's get you again…and we said, “Yeah you know what? We're very serious about being the number one pet sitting market place in Australia. That means we got to go out of Surry Hills, even when textbook says that we should you know…”

G: Stay, suburb by suburb.

A: … suburb by suburb.

G: Yeah.

A: And I was fixing the website. Not fixing the website, but I was taking customer calls, “Yeah sorry it wasn't working, but no worries, I'm going to help you.” I had at the time like a casual employee, intern whose name was David and “Yes, it's David, I'm fixing the website, we're expanding to...to everywhere in Australia. Can you please…”

G: Today!

[Laughter]

A: …expand us everywhere in Australia. He is like “Alex, how sure are you…?” “Hey, I'm just out of uni…” right? “I know you are in uni, like you are 19, I'm just out of uni, I’ve never built the pet sitting marketplace before, right?”

G: What do we do? Yeah.

A: “I don't know man, you’ll do it. You're a smart guy.” “Yes, I'm a smart guy. I'm…in which city should I expand?” “I’m not from here as you can judge from my accent, I’m from Belgium. You’re from here, you’re a student, you tell me. I mean not even tell me, just go. Okay so we’re going in Melbourne, we’re going in Perth, we’re going in Adelaide.”, “Why Adelaide?” “To stay with obviously, with my ex-girlfriend’s sister have many, many doggies in Adelaide so you can…we’re just going to Adelaide.”

G: Customer research, done.

[Laughter]

A: What happened, this is a bit going off your question, right? So it may expand all over Australia, at some point. And how did they do it? It was… we suddenly saw at Google Analytics, coming website's traffic, coming through, more and more and more.

G: Yeah.

A: So “Whoa! David, what you're doing?” “Alexis, you know, you told me that story of how Airbnb got their first listings off Craigslist? Apparently Airbnb sent this message to running listings from Craigslist. In the United States, Craigslist is like coming through.”

G: Yeah.

A: “Hey you know why don't you put your listing on Craigslist?” from a random email address. “You have such an amazing listing and we'd love you to put it on not Craigslist but Airbnb which is this new website that’s already getting millions of views,” right? And that worked very well, until Craigslist banned it but, it was too late by then because they’ve already outgrown…there's more to that story but…

[Laughter]

G: It’s the quick version.

A: Yeah and so he was doing the same thing on Gumtree and posting a few free ads for pet sitters on Gumtree and it was completely free. We’ve got lots of traffic to the website and I said, “You know what? We're going to do nothing all day but you know build posts Gumtree ads and so both of us brought tens of thousands of website traffic to our website on zero dollars. And so that was fantastic, right? And so suddenly we expanded, all over Australia. We got pet sitters all over Australia.

G: Great.

A: Yeah, so that was great, however now your question is how do you then build demand and supply when textbook says you need to go suburb by suburb, because it's easier to match demand to supply? But now we have pet sitters all over Australia.

G: To make sure you had…experience right? Yeah.

A: And the reality is we kind of messed up there in the beginning because it was very challenging to get those pet sitters their first bookings, everywhere in Australia because we didn’t have marketing budgets everywhere in Australia.

G: There were only two of you.

A: So the issue which we had was the issue which we call in marketplaces, “the chicken and the egg problem.” Which one comes first, the pet sitter or the pet owner?

G: Yep.

A: We went everywhere for pet sitters, but they weren't getting the eggs… the pet sitting booking requests and therefore they’re getting disengaged. And as a result my numbers for the first six months were flat.

G: Yep, but your user growth was probably up.

A: Exactly, my user growth was like that.

G: So people will get excited about having big numbers but unless the marketplace is actually happening you know, things, people are connecting in the right suburbs, the right place, the right time…

A: That's right.

G: It’s worth nothing.

A: I was getting super excited because I was in the news everywhere and my grandma was very, very proud. I said “Look grandma…”

G: Success!

[Laughter]

A: … the dog walking business is working out!” She said “Oh that’s amazing…to see you on the newspapers” and so on. So I was getting really excited and then we look all this user growth…but then I looked into the numbers and saw, “You know what our growth curve, our revenue growth curve, the thing that matters…try raising money on the flat revenue growth curve does not work because our revenue growth curve was absolutely flat.”

G: It wasn’t a curve, it was a line.

[Laughter]

A: Yeah, it was the horizon of the ocean. That was that flat it was. So and this was very much not because we're not getting the traffic, as Gen said…they were just not…

G: It wasn't that stickiness that the business want.

A: They contact…the pet owners contacted the pet sitters but the pet sitters were irresponsible because they hadn't heard from us for three months, it took us three months to get the first booking revenue, the chicken and the egg thing.

G: Yeah, so inactive.

A: And they just didn't care anymore. Here's how we overcome that problem and I'll tell everyone who wants to build the…

G: Two-sided marketplace.

A: …two-sided marketplace, correct. We just started picking up the phone, me and the other person in this business at the time, just started picking up the phone and start…every pet owner who came to the website, we called them up and said, “Hey Josephine, thanks much for your booking request. You know what? It's going to be a bit difficult, but that's why I'm here. That's why I'm going to make sure that you and your dog Charlie are going to find the most amazing pet sitter, even if it takes all night to find one.” And then we call the pet sitter and say, “Yo, this is Alexis from Mad Paws, we need your help.” “What's Mad Paws?” “Mad Paws, the pet-sitting website you signed up for three months ago.” “Oh” “and you can, you know earn money looking after dogs which you love dogs, according to your profile.” “Oh it's amazing. Tell me what to do.”

Explain what to do and I tell you now guys honestly, the growth curve, went like this. It was flat, right? The Bondi, the Bondi horizon on the ocean and then the very moment we started calling, it went like that, I swear. And this was the moment over here, and ever since we have been calling our customers, to the point when we couldn’t do it anymore. Because it was like a good form to have kind of because there were too many customers, the growth curve was going very fast. That's when we started doing automated technology to do what we were doing on the phone, to do this via automated text messages, automated emails…

I think that DNA, how to overcome that chicken-and-egg problem, getting replacement technology which is sales, we don't do anymore, but it's still in our DNA and still we're still very dedicated and quite sizable customer support team. It's so important to be close to our customers and to be close to our pet sitters.

G: That’s fantastic. So you have a really unique culture with the mad scientist here. How did you decide kind of what your culture was going to be like?

A: Well culture is the interesting one, right? It's like one of those things when you start and yeah and it's so important to…its targets because eventually you'll raise money of revenue numbers.

G: You got to pay the bills somehow right?

[Laughter]

A: Yeah it's like, when you have so many hard metrics that you need to…it's like culture is like yeah easy thing to postpone and postpone and postpone, but it's it shouldn't be because honestly it makes a difference, right? And I think we startups, we always had good team vibes because we're all friends. But when you really start taking it to the next level, start in investing culture of true team bonding activities to really doing workshops around company values then also living them and creating and making sure our forefronts of minds for everyone, through little things such as the pet sitter leave I told you about.

G: Yeah.

A: That sort of thing and just like team lunches and whatnot, cupcake baking competitions and that sort of stuff…Yeah, it just took the culture to the next level. And what that does is I think people - I hope –really, really like their job, like the people around it, go home and still think about it, right? Yes, work-life balance, but also no? I mean, I think what's important is being in the moment while you are in the moment when you’re at work, you’re here, when you’re with your family, you’re with your family, but you can still speak about your job and think about it and while you walk to work see a dog and get an amazing idea that's what happening. Like people walking excitedly to work and just getting an idea, walk into office and saying, “Hey guys, you know what? I saw these five dogs in the park having quite fun. Now we're going to organize Australia's largest ever dog party!”

G: Yep.

A: And I think such ideas come when people really care about business; really care about people within business and just come up with on amazing ideas as a result of it.

G: Yeah, it's fantastic. So how has that culture evolved? I mean, day one startups right, are a little bit you know, still a bit ignorant and kind of…as we go, so how did you kind of, what was it like day one versus well what is it now? What's the big difference?

A: I mean I think the culture really starts shaping from the moment you have a team of more than one, so two people it's just, culture is the way that you interact with each other, right? And so the more people you add to the equation, the less it's in control of me, right? Less is more and control the interactions and gets to a point that, it's just good to put company values down so that it's clear what desired behavior is and what isn't.

G: Yeah.

A: Because we have always done cultural interviews, day one we didn't have values, which is a bit worried, but we’re always like look, do these people fit within the way that, we act and think as one, we didn't, never have big issues but I can tell you the moment you have an issue and it's often like a non-awareness issue - like I do something to piss people off, not me…

G: Never, ever.

[Laughter]

A: Me as well, to be very honest, it's, if it's not dealt with, it absolutely deteriorates the company culture and I think it's very crucial to have such values in place, to have open and transparent feedback sessions so that you can address problems before they arise and to create a vibe in a caller who uses words you know on purpose. Honestly, like a vibe, something that’s hanging around in the office and people want to be there, and people want to be there. You know people say to their friends, “It's Monday morning, I know that you don't want to call, but I want to go because I've got this amazing idea over the weekend and I can't wait to present this to the rest of the team and to hear what they think about it and to …play with Charlie the puppy, let's do it,” you know?

G: So as a leader how do you keep evolving? How do you keep yourself accountable and make sure you're continually cutting edge, what you can be doing with the company?

A: Yeah well I think that's really important like the whole self-evolvement and what is good and what I'm very lucky for is three things: externally I am very fortunate to be in a number of leadership development programs where I've just you know I have the opportunity to speak with leaders just couple of stages ahead of myself, in some cases many…and you just learn a lot because they've been through all of it…

G: Yeah.

A: …I promise you. The whole sharing hub, us collaborating with sharing economy businesses that's useful because…

G: Where are we?

[Laughter]

G: It’s probably…

A: We are in a sharing hub guys, which is an accelerator for sharing common business…actually let's put it in human language, we sit together with all sorts of sharing economy businesses, some bigger some smaller and we learn from each other. I learned from the Airtaskers of Australia, I may be passed on some you know some knowledge to some startups that are just a few stages earlier than Mad Paws, and it's very useful for all of us. Also externally I have such networks that's amazing. Internally my boards, I honestly have amazing board members who started the business with myself and have amazing experiences and I speak to them all of…

G: When did you think it was the best time to get a board involved?

A: Well we started with, ourselves but I think if you're, I think if you are alliance and you just really think along the same lines and you're doing it together and in it together then it's better you meet again.

G: Yeah.

A: Because you just don't have all day to this at least I didn't, I just came straight out of uni so for me it was amazing.

G: Yeah.

A: But now it's also like when do we have external key investors coming on the board, and so on. I think it's good, the more perspectives the better but I think it's just you need to make sure that you are aligned when it comes to the vision as well which we are, in the case with our investors which is good. Your question, self-development, externally such networking groups, leadership programs, internally my board but also and this is very important I learned through open relationships which the employees because in the end there ones experiencing my leadership and that should get the benefits from the leadership and that feel when it’s, when it's not good enough and so creating a really open and transparent flow of communication and feedback with myself, I think that's, that is crucial. And I'm not there 100% right like not everyone at this stage I imagine…

G: We never are, right?

A: …a comes to me with, with that is something if we're consciously improving with systemizing feedback sessions which is you know making it more of a culture to grab a coffee with someone to ask, “Hey, you know, which five/three things do you think I can improve?” Go for it.

G: I’ve got Kelly here: “What skills or values did you look for in a board member?”

A: You know, okay, it's a very good question. I think a board member is there to bring experience you don't have, right? So it which skills do I have, right? For me is now I have a bit of insights into marketing…

G: …great graphs with…sticks.

[Laughter]

A: Yeah I don't, I don't know so much about financials because I'm running in the scheme of things, I'm running a small company whereas guys or girls that have, women that have run bigger companies and looked at bigger P&Ls and bigger balance sheets and know cash flow effects. That's an amazing skill to have financial management. Another skill, it’s not really a skill, but another important skill for a board member is networking. Like in the business such as Mad Paws, we, we’re doing capital raising and we are going to do more capital raising because we think of this as a very, very big thing. This is why networks in the board member is very, very crucial. When it's just another level of a Mad Paws board member, reaching out to an investor and…is you should talk to Alexis, it's different level than just in random…I think decision-making right strategic decision-making it's, this company grows fast, the ex… the extent of you know decisions that I make now, the impact that they’re having is much, much bigger than it was six months ago. And six months ago, it was much, much bigger than it was a year ago. So we’re just making more and more important decisions and I really value having guys or you know, women on the board that has dealt with such important decision making before.

G: So, I mean, situations with raising funds, what’s your advice to people who haven’t raised before? How to find the right people? What is the good fit?

A: So I think, this is again, investment is where it’s very useful to have someone onboard or as an advisor to give you insights. Because you’ve never done this before, how are you going to know what’s fair, what’s not fair? Valuation is one thing, but it comes with a whole bunch of terms that you don’t immediately understand. And your lawyer, like lawyers are good, but they also make money by…I think it’s just useful to have practical experience around you. Advice for capital raising is, first advice, everything else is much harder than capital raising, meaning build an amazing business first, and it will be much easier to capital raise. Growth is important right, if you are growing, that’s awesome. Of course there are other considerations, how you acquire customers and so on and so forth. Then just get…

G: Get magical talk on Tamme now, you’re fine.

[Laughter]

A: I didn’t know that before. Thanks, thanks Gen. That’s actually a really cool thing, really…

G: Thank you.

A: …really outside the box. Build great business, secondly, get in front of people, okay? How many times have Airbnb been declines for investors? How many VCs they’ve pitched for? Like a hundred to get their first. Maybe this is exaggerated numbers but you get the picture. Same for Mad Paws, like I have got at least a hundred, maybe hundred and fifty maybe two hundred declines.

G: You have a thick skin.

A: Yeah.

G: And a determination to keep trying.

A: Yeah you've got thick skin, that's right. But more important than the thick skin, even if you go and cry in the corner all the time, is yeah let's ask what you're saying get up again and go speak to them because it's, it is a bit of a numbers game, right? Not because you're trying to find one dumb investor who wants to invest in your business, that’s not what I mean. The point is it's a big decision, there are other investor opportunities around there for investors, you just got to speak to a lot, a sizable amount of people and that's also how you learn who can add value to my business, who can’t. It's also a bit how you create a bit interest, like it's also a demand in supply market guys. Like the more offers you have on the table, the in a, better position you are.

G: Yeah.

A: So my recommendation is, when you got to be capital raising all the time, doesn't mean you need to be collecting cash in the bank all the time but you need to be making this connection all the time. One thing I do is, people that are interested in Mad Paws, for investment or for other reasons or just generally interested and I trust them, I send them every second month a Mad Paws update, the same when I send to my shareholders.

G: That’s great!

A: And so what it does is it just brings people in the journey and, and when I'm done looking for investments and I tell them, really some are interested, they say, “Yeah, Alex, actually thanks for including me for the first 12 months.” Yep, I mean, or, “You know what? I actually know someone…”

G: Who would be great for this, yeah.

A: …so keep that going. I think it's really important how you pitch as well, as a…right and make sure that you keep it short and you synch, because what you really want to do in such investors meetings when you get their time, is take the questions out of their head and the only way to do that is to listen to your questions and answer them, rather than do a one-hour pitch, do a short pitch and tell them “Guys, what's your questions?” and answer them. That's, that's right …

G: That's great and being in start-up world, being an entrepreneur there's a lot of challenges, lot of knock backs, lot of “no’s, also a lot of wins, hopefully anyway.

[Laughter]

G: How do you as a leader, deal with the mental health side of things?

A: Yeah it is actually a little bit, it's much more than I thought, it's much more ups and downs than I thought.

G: Yeah.

A: And it also gets…it actually gets more intense, the ups gets better, right?

G: Yeah they get a lot higher and a lot lower.

[Laughter]

A: And the downs get lower as well, but the average still, net positive. So look I think how I deal with it, that’s once you think it is very difficult to remember.

G: Yeah it is.

A: How I deal with it is I just have two principles: one is I'm going to give you the 100%, 1000% of my everything to make this work, right? But I'm also not going to, if it doesn't for some reason or if little battles don't work out, I'm not going to sit at home and cry about it because you know what? It's in those failures that you have your biggest learning experiences and at this point in my life, it's super crucial for me to make this work and it's my 1,000% commitment to make it work but you know is what's the most important thing to me in my life is that, I'm there on a very steep growth trajectory, alright? And so it's the laws that put you in an even steeper growth trajectory and so you know I can't lose that's the thing. I won't lose the business no way like anyway going way too well now. But point is, even with when things fail, I'm not going to sit and cry about…you learn great things.

G: So do you think communication with these people going through similar situations like running their own businesses exercise you know do all those sorts of things do you manage it through that?

A: Well, I really manage it to a mindset that will help myself, everything's learning experiences that's what I meant to say yeah but exercising helps a lot, having great friends you can speak about helps a lot, having friends in addition to other great friends within the entrepreneurship sector or have who are going through the same experiences and that have done it before, that's great as well because you're just here or you know what? Actually everyone has these problems, not maybe these but everyone has horror stories and some of them almost killed their businesses and they're still running and actually super successful now, thing is really good to all have those conversations and be open about it. You know what I think is also good is and this by the way I was, was recommended to me from one of those leadership programs I built by some very senior leaders that run some of Australia's biggest businesses and they told me “Alexis, you know what’s important for you to manage a team as well for yourself? It's showing vulnerability to your team.”

G: It’s true.

A: If you are stressed, I don't think that it's a don't think it's an issue showing your stress. It's an issue of not showing it and people thinking what's going on because they will see it anyway. Showing vulnerability and showing, showing people what's, what's up and just being transparent with your team, it takes just the weight of your shoulders and more often than what you think might happen is that they get panicked because their leader is stressed. They're actually very supportive and they appreciate, you know, being…and that's what I definitely plan to do with it.

G: That's awesome so for your business where you're at now, Mad Paws, you guys hire?

A: Yeah we're hiring like crazy.

G: What are you hiring for?

A: We're hiring, not like crazy guys, very disciplined…no we are hiring for marketing position, which is very exciting because honestly I think sorry to all the other startups out there but I feel quite the marketing of Mad Paws was the coolest out there because…

G: You get to hang out with puppies all day!

[Laughter]

A: …yeah, we organized Australia’s largest dog party, we organize the world's largest sharing economy Expo, we organize Australia’s dog of the year, one winner in every state, we do super cool things. But and so yeah, we’re looking for…

G: What’s this person going to be working on this person is going to be working on?

A: This person is going to be equity retention.

G: Yeah.

A: And that’s going to be with cool, creative ideas I don't even know, it’s totally up to them to come up with it but, but yeah that's, that's like an analytical, someone really analytical but super creative and that really cares about the subject as well, right? Cares about solving people's problems when it comes to “what do I do with my dog, when I can't take care of it?” that's one thing, customer support, super, super crucial for us, it's an exciting thing you know they're really, they're all really our ears and eyes when it comes to understanding the customer and they are really what makes this business work. Remember from the previous … it’s because of the customer support, you know what I mean? We are also looking for an absolute data person, unless maybe Gen can solve it with Tamme.

G: I was about to say “Are you offering me a job?”

[Laughter]

A: We’re looking… some that’s, yeah, just going to put the whole business, to measure the whole business to even to an accelerated growth rate we could …measure it, and put …take it to the next level and tell us “Spend money there, don’t spend money there, spend more money there…

G: Connect the whole business together.

A: …customer…have a higher lifetime value and support and support and support and then, what else are we looking for…oh yeah look there is one other job position I need to get my head around it so the thing…I'll post it in the …

G: That's awesome so if people in the startup community, if they're looking for help or ideas or just a sounding board, can they reach out to you for certain things?

A: No I’m too busy.

[Laughter]

G: Yeah it’s too cool.

[Laughter]

A: No, look. I have time reserved in my schedule for this honestly, right? I have a number of hours every week that I dedicate to this anyway…sharing Hub or people who are reaching out so, yeah, reach out absolutely.

G: Cool.

A: My, you know, email address is pretty easy to guess, it’s my first name at my website.

[Laughter]

G: Awesome and I always ask this question what is if you could have a superpower, what would it be?

A: Superpower?

G: Besides me, to be able to hang out with puppies all day.

[Laughter]

A: We already have that. Look…that's a good question. I mean I'm really just psychology and people and so on and yeah maybe I'd like to read people's minds.

G: Then there's no surprises!

A: Why? What do you mean?

G: Because you already know what they're thinking? It’s just like “Hey, what do you like? Green or red? Oh wait don't answer, I already know,” and you’re like “Great.”

A: Have you seen the movie What Women Want?

G: Yes.

A: Mel Gibson.

G: Yeah.

[Laughter]

A: This would solve my, lot of my life issues. No, yeah.

G: Cool. Well thank you so much for your time and the amazing goal stick graphs. And we're looking forward to watching Mad Paws grow, internationally, you’re going international so probably some influence to ask.

A: No, we’re not.

G: Yep.

A: You know why? Because there, there are eight million dogs and cats in Australia.

G: Oh my God.

A: Which is more than there are teenagers here and we are just building Australia's largest pet community and we're very well on track to get there and we will get there even more so, and we're just going to solve all issues for all dogs, rabbits, cats.

G: Gold fish?

A: Gold fish, snakes and it’s fun.

G: Llamas?

A: …in Australia and the market is big enough, not big enough, its massive…

G: It’s huge.

A: …and yeah so that's why we're sticking to Australia and New Zealand.

G: Very exciting. Well thank you so much for letting us harass you in your office.

A: Oh no, it’s a pleasure.

[Laughter]

G: Thanks very much guys for tuning in and we'll see you next time on my Facebook page. Have a good afternoon.