PawSquad: Francesco Cardoletti

The serial entrepreneur offers his learned business tips and explains how his start-up will be innovating an out-dated industry

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Name: Francesco Cardoletti
Company name: PawSquad
Location: London
Date launched  14/08/2015

Tell us what your business does:

PawSquad is a marketplace that connects pet owners to pet care providers (vets, trainers, breeders, nutritionists) over multiple touch points.

Our goal is to make pets healthier and happier by improving the way pet care is delivered.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

I have two dogs. One of them, Giambi, is a 15 years-old Silky Terrier. The second one, Lola, is an 18 months-old Miniature Schnauzer. When we got Lola, Giambi got diagnosed with spinal arthritis. We spent two months looking around the web, trying to understand how to support Giambi and looking for alternative ways to alleviate his reliance on pain medicines.

Then Lola, a puppy, started to have all sort of behavioral issues. That is when we realized that we could not just call the vet to get support and Google was just not very reliable.

How did you know there was a market for it?

We spoke to over 200 pet owners and about 100 vets. They all confirmed the pain points we are addressing.

What were you doing before starting up?

Founded and run which is an online parenting community.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Yes, and I have been since 2009.

How did you raise the money?

I partnered with investors and fellow dog lovers when we were still in the concept phase. They bought into the idea and committed funding.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

We are a pay per consultation model; for instance, a 15 minutes consultation is £15.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Our service is trying to establish a new way of accessing pet care. It is a behavioural change that requires education, time and buy-in from industry players. We are focusing our marketing efforts in these directions

What was your first big breakthrough?

We have already signed up over 160 vets and set up an amazingly supportive clinical advisory board.

This was when we realised that we had tapped into an industry that is ready for a change.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Remember that it is all about the team, try to find a co-founder, act always with a sense of urgency and don’t get overly-excited or get you too down. Ups and down are at the order of the day.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

We aim to improve the way pet healthcare is accessed and delivered around the world, in five years we would like to have been able to build a product that provides continuity of care to the pet across its lifecycle. And we hope to be a global reality.

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