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Turning point for online directory that connects pets with minders

Find out the secret behind Mad Paws’ success, from a university student’s brainchild to profitable business.

Madpaws team (1)

We love our pets. The draw of their affection and devotion is familiar to many. But offering them proper care and still making time for work and the occasional holiday can become a challenge. This dilemma shaped Mad Paws, an online directory that connects animals with minders.

Yearly spending on pet products and services has passed $12 billion, according to the Australian Veterinary Association. The business case for an online directory to connect owners and people looking for furry companionship is clear.

Alexis Soulopoulos, co-founder and CEO of Mad Paws
Alexis Soulopoulos, co-founder and CEO of Mad Paws

“The moment we started picking up the phone and being close to our customers was when our growth curve didn’t go flat for 6 months, but straight up high,” said Alexis Soulopoulos, co-founder and CEO of Mad Paws, based in Pyrmont.

“We called customers and helped them through the booking experience. Then immediately after, we would call the pet sitter. Many pet sitters had signed up to our platform a couple of months before, but hadn't yet received a booking enquiry, since it took a while to build demand for pet sitting. So we called them to inform them about the booking and to explain how the process works.

“Ever since, we realised that the key is to always be close to our customers.

Picking up the phone in the early days was great to put a face behind the technology platform and build trust.

“We learnt heaps from early feedback. One of the key points was the importance of a meet and greet prior to booking. As a result, the meet and greet between pet owner, pet sitter and pet is now included in the booking flow," he said.

Owners and minders are offered pet insurance, so everyone is protected and has peace of mind. And Mad Paws has grown to a solid platform with a website and a mobile app, after 3 years of customer feedback and development.

Today, the Mad Paws team is 20-strong - if you only count its human members - working out of a tech sharing hub in Sydney.

Soulopoulos said, “we’re doing really well, growing very fast – tripling each year. But I wouldn’t say that we’re a household name…yet. So one of the goals [for its most recent fundraising round] is…to become a brand, a household name.”

Mad Paws is a local innovator that solves customer problems with online solutions. It’s part of our series about savvy business minds around Sydney. They share the moment that changed their business forever and tell us how they got there.

Published 23 August 2018, updated 29 February 2024