Startup Spotlight: Adopets

Oct 1, 2018

Startup Spotlight: Adopets

Oct 1, 2018

Meet Artur Sousa – CEO and Founder of Adopets, the pet-tech company streamlining the pet adoption process!

GH: What is Adopets?

adopets is a pet-tech company enabling pet companies to find the right customers. Our line of products is focused on the experience of pet adoption, streamlining and facilitating it for potential adopters and shelters alike.

Currently, they have had over 200,000 people looking for adoptable pets on their platform through our website or their app (that has an average of 600 downloads a week), with about 600 shelters and 380,000 adoptable animals in every State. They are gearing up for the launch of their new product this fall, as well as raising a pre-seed round.

GH: What was your Eureka moment: how did Adopets get started?

After settling in Boston with my wife we decided to adopt a puppy. It was my first experience adopting an animal in the U.S. and, like any other person does, my first step was to google  how to adopt a dog. There are many websites that you can find adoptable animals, but in between outdated information and bureaucratic processes it took us three months, from starting the search to actually bringing our puppy home. In a way Frisco, our puppy, was the eureka moment.

You see, shelters and rescues need to make sure they are sending the animal off to a good home, but that often translates in time consuming activities. We wanted to find a way where organizations could have the information they need and adopters could be engaged throughout the process, optimizing their experience and resulting in more adoption. The business model came later as a consequence of becoming the only platform that knows when someone is bringing a new pet home.

GH: How did you build your team?

That was quite the journey full of successes and mistakes. We often have an easier time find a team that shares the passion for animals, however it took us more time to find people that had the entrepreneurial bug. For early stage companies it is important to find people that shares the desire for disrupting a space and creating something that is not yet real. When you find people that are fantastic as professionals, but are more accustomed to consistency and structure, you often find yourself lacking the support you need through the most challenging aspects of building a business.

At the end, our team came together after learning the best ways to identify professionals that align with our mission AND the current needs that we have. We have the strongest team we have ever had and it happened as a mix of serendipity, learning with our mistakes and focusing on what matters the most: our future as a company.

GH: What is your company philosophy driving your company culture?

The understanding that we can help impact the lives of millions of people and their pets. It is amazing to think and create a product that truly enables more people to access the benefits of having pets, as well as help shelters/rescues on their mission to save more lives. We thrive by creating an experience that we would enjoy ourselves and focusing on the quality of the product and retention.

GH: Startup life is full of failures and ‘make it work’ moments – can you identify how you bounced back from one of yours?

We had a different person taking care of our tech side when we started and we had planned and scheduled our launch to a certain date, back in the day. At that point, with a relationship built on trust, we realized that by the time we had our launch scheduled we were nowhere close to actually being ready. The damage of having promised something that was not ready to go was felt by our entire team, I value being a true to my word and realizing that we were terribly wrong about that really became an obstacle in the partnerships and conversations we had lined up.

I should have been more on top of the product development than I was, I like to have amazing people working with us because often you can trust them to accomplish their goals within the company, but that case was very different and I should have noticed before. It could have ruined everything we were working for at that point.

However, we took that experience to our hearts and went back to the drawing board. As a consequence, we found an amazing CTO that has done much more than we ever imagined. We were able to bounce back and offer a much better product at the end, including many things that we thought would be down the road.

The white dog is Frisco, inspiration behind adopets.

GH: What did you learn from your first customers? That assumptions are merely that, assumptions. Until we actually see our customers using it, getting frustrated or loving it we are not truly able to build something people love. Getting our product on their hands was the best experience possible, because we got to truly learn what was wrong, what was right and what should be there.

GH: What has the Boston ecosystem provided you?

I love Boston, I love our community and how people are willing to help each other. TCN as an example, the way we can access first-class talent and support through the network in such a simple way, blows my mind. There hasn’t been an expertise that we weren’t able to find in the Boston area and most people are so keen to jump in and help guide us.

GH: What is the Boston ecosystem lacking from your perspective?

I do think that we pride ourselves over the diversity that the universities bring to the area. However, I think we are still lacking of openness to actually empower founders of all gender, backgrounds and places. That is changing, but we have a long way to go and keep leading the hub as one of the best places to build a company in this country.

GH: What’s the best/worst piece of advice you were given along the way?

I actually had an entrepreneur that I love and admire, that told me that I shouldn’t do build this company. It was early on, and he was telling me that I was all set with a good job and that was enough. The painful side of that is, I expect any other entrepreneur to understand that this is not a ‘choice’ per se, it is who I am. I won’t stop and after we succeeded with this company, there will be another one and another one after that.

The best one came out of a quick conversation with Clement Cazalot, from Techstars Boston. During a very enjoyable walk, we were chatting and he had an amazing insight over our business model and our ability to help pet parents to find the best products for their pets.

GH: What was the best thing that happened to you last year?

The best one was the birth of my first child, my daughter Madeline. The second best one was the launch of our platform, having Ariana Huffington talking about us, TOP 10 on ProductHunt and being chosen on the Top 10 of Most Innovative Early Stage pet companies in the U.S. by Purina.

GH: What does the future hold for Adopets?

The U.S. is a great place for us and there is so much we can do to support people’s journey of having a pet here. When we look at the pet business ecosystem here, it is thriving and growing at an incredible pace and there is so much more to do on the rehoming and breeders side of our technology.  Our future, after succeeding here, is on a global expansion where we find countries, like my own Brazil, that have nothing even remotely similar to the quality of the tech we are bringing to the space. Additionally, such countries have 10-15x more abandoned animals than the U.S.

Learn more about Adopets!

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