ACE Startup Feature – Cuzzey
Pet Owners Unite!
Animal lovers now have a new friend in Cuzzey, a brand-new startup that wants to ease the pain points of pet ownership by building a community of likeminded individuals and businesses. Founder and CEO Jose He shares more.
“Cuzzey is LinkedIn for pets,” says Founder and CEO Jose He, pausing for effect. The surprising claim works — this writer is momentarily stunned. You can almost hear the smile in Jose’s voice as he continues: “By that, I mean that we are a one-stop social community for pet services and supplies.”
Jose makes it clear that Cuzzey is not simply an online marketplace or an e-commerce portal. Its key differentiator and main selling point is the social element involved.
“At Cuzzey, pet owners can create profiles for themselves and their pets. They can like and follow other users (human or otherwise), share their thoughts, exchange information and more. When they require a product or service for their pets, they can reach out to sellers in the community. They are also free to start a mini business on Cuzzey, maybe as a dogwalker or pet taxi. Businesses are also welcome to set up an account and engage with the local pet owner community,” he added. “We are one-stop because everything our users need, from networks to information to products and services, is available on Cuzzey.”
This is all pretty impressive for a first-time entrepreneur who left his Business Development role with a small company because he had “lost [his] direction”.
His new direction came courtesy of three friends, during a chit-chat session at McDonald’s. They were grumbling about how expensive and time-consuming it was to look for pet services and how great it would be to have a one-stop app. While Jose is a pet owner himself, he wasn’t immediately sold on the business idea.
“I was the sceptical one, actually. But when I got home, I decided there was no harm looking into it. I did some research and wow, I couldn’t sleep that night. I called for a meeting with the same friends the very next day,” he said.
Ironically, the friends who gave Jose the idea for Cuzzey eventually bowed out. Jose was on his own but he was determined to make it work.
In August 2016, Cuzzey was incorporated. By early 2017, Jose had a Minimum Viable Product to validate the business model, collect feedback and produce a market-ready version. This will take the form of Cuzzey’s official launch on 1 September.
With ‘social’ being key to Cuzzey’s value proposition, Jose started his community-building efforts early on. The startup already has 11,500 followers on Facebook and recently held its first face-to-face event, the Cuzzey Walk Walk, for pets and pet owners to interact and bond.
In just over a year, Jose — and Cuzzey — have come a long way.
“I’m making mistakes every day but it’s great, because each mistake is a learning experience. To me, there are three things that can make or break an entrepreneur. The first is resilience, because it’s not an easy path to take. The second is innovation, because ideas are so easily duplicated these days, you need to stay creative. And lastly, the ability to execute — to turn ideas into reality and surround yourself with people who can help you achieve that,” he said.
When prompted for advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Jose had this to say: “Don’t do it for fun. Do it because you have a strong ‘why’. Don’t worry about the ‘how’; that will come later. The ‘why’ is really important because it’s the underlying passion and motivation that will keep you going against all odds.”
Learn more about Cuzzey at http://cuzzey.com/.