With more than 328,000 customers and two million pet care services provided since it was established in 2014, Mad Paws (ASX: MPA) is a true blue Australian success story.
But it didn’t become the top dog overnight according to co-founder Alexis Soulopoulos, who deployed ingenious early-stage growth strategies in the company’s first year which sometimes worked, and sometimes flopped.
However, this process of trial and error taught the entrepreneur some valuable lessons and helped him learn how to focus on the most important growth metrics fresh startups need to have top of mind.
Soulopoulos, who is also the CEO of new business at Mad Paws, will divulge the approach he took to scaling the pet sitting site from humble beginnings to the holistic pet services hub it is today at the upcoming E2E Summit in February.
According to Soulopoulos, Mad Paws began with a shoestring marketing budget, meaning the team’s initial focus was on existing online pet communities such as on social media.
“In the beginning it was all about finding out where our customers were already on the internet - and we found little pockets of communities on platforms like Gumtree and Facebook where people were already looking for petsitters,” Soulopoulos told Business News Australia.
“Then, in a similar approach that Airbnb took, we found a whole bunch of listings and asked them to come over to Mad Paws. With very little money we signed up so many users essentially for free.”
Soulopoulos said that this strategy validated the existence of Mad Paws, so from there he took a more novel approach to marketing - hosting big PR stunts like ‘the biggest ever pet party’ which got the company’s brand into the mass market and turned heads at major media organisations.
However, the co-founder soon realised that while these big events were getting users to register on the Mad Paws platform, this by itself wasn’t enough to translate into paid bookings.
“Everything was seemingly going amazing, but the data points we were looking at - being registered users - wasn’t really the right metric to optimise for,” he explained.
“You need to be very clear on what is the one metric you’re going to wake up and think about, and how you’re going to grow it. For us in the early stages it certainly shouldn’t have been media mentions or user signups - it was transactions.
“Once we figured that out our focus really shifted. We started calling up registered users on the phone and hand-held them through the onboarding process, and that’s when suddenly the growth curve of the metric that mattered - transactions - started going sky high.”
Mad Paws has since productised this process with technology, meaning the team no longer has to call up every single new user.
Soulopoulos is just one of the many talented entrepreneurs that will be speaking at the intimate E2E Summit next month, alongside the likes of TWIYO Capital & Advisory and Flave co-founder Stuart Cook, Equalution and Big Uppetite co-founder Jade Spooner, Flora & Fauna founder Julie Mathers, Ampersand co-founder Alex Bottomley, and VentureCrowd founder Steve Maarbani. Click here for the agenda with all the speakers and session topics.
Alexis will also be discussing topics beyond ‘growth hacking’, including:
- The power of word of mouth: How to grow your business with a focus on organic channels;
- Organic vs inorganic growth, or how to scale your business via acquisitions; and
- The one stop shop: How to build a data-driven business with multiple revenue streams.
So what are you waiting for? Click here to join us at this two-day summit where Alexis will be one of many amazing founders giving their insights to help rocket your business forward in 2023 and beyond.
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