A pet food site Chewy.com was acquired for $3.5B by PetSmart which made it the largest e-commerce acquisition ever. It’s a big deal right? The deal is bigger than Walmart acquiring Jet.com which was crazy back then, considering PetSmart is about 1/25th the size but with way more hamster wheels.
Chewy has been operating for the last 5 years and offers over than 30k pet products and fetched $900m in revenue last year. They are on track making $1.5B this year (2017).
I never knew this brand existed before so I did a research to see who are these people. What I found is that they are obsessed entrepreneurs living in Florida. Co-Founder Ryan Chen sleeps 3 hours a night and eats just steamed vegetables with either fish or chicken, and calls his teacup Tylee his “No.1” (he’s married).
What did they do?
They created a ‘Zappos on steroids’ mentality when it comes to Fast Shipping and great customer service – including hand-written postcards for new clients. As a result, Chewy did $25m in revenue in their first year completely bootstrapped (raised around $236m from VCs like BlackRock and Volition Capital). With all this numbers I must mention that the company has yet to turn a profit and I hope they have their economics straight. In December 2012 they needed cash to expand so Ryan travelled from Fort Lauderdale to Palo Alto and walked into half-dozen venture capital firsts unannounced, no meetings, no phone calls, nothing absolutely cold. He didn’t get past the receptionists. He didn’t give up though, three months later he tried the same tactic. “I’m relentless” says Cohen, a college dropout from Montreal. “It felt like it should work.” it did not. It just shows me and inspires me to be relentless in what we want to achieve; if we have a goal and believe in something never give up.
Two lessons learned; 1) When you become obsessed and you love what you do you don’t count the hours you work 2) Following money is not the goal; following something that we are passionate about is the goal.
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