60 second start-up: YummyPets

0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence

YummyPets is the first community platform for pet owners - modelled on Facebook (with photo and video upload, instant messaging, notifications, and more) - that represents the pet, rather than the owner.

5-10 seconds: What's the business model?

At present we are working on classic monetisation models such as affiliation, brand content, freemium (for pros) and sponsorship; keeping all services free to YummyPets users.

Alongside our e-commerce service, we are also working on a physical product based on NFC technology that will help pet owners keep track of their pet.

We don't plan on stopping there; we plan to continually evolve all our services.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

Our main competitor is Dogster which is a US social 'petwork'. The company has recently just been acquired by a media company and is shifting its position.

When it comes to user experience, we compete with all the main social networks, Instagram in particular, as pet owners mainly upload photos of their pets.

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?

YummyPets was a project created by Octopepper, our web design and digital agency, so we have a key advantage when it comes to experience and technical expertise.  In a fast-paced social media world, the technical team has been instrumental in rapidly developing the site in response to user behaviour. 

Before YummyPets, we worked with many large businesses including some in the pet sector which gave us an understanding of the industry as well as opening doors to partnerships with key brands. 

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?

We initially funded the YummyPets project using the profits from our web agency business. Five months after the launch of the platform, we conducted a first round of funding for €1.5m.

This support has really helped us to technically consolidate the project and take the site as far as possible in terms of service, innovation and user experience. The agency now employs 20 staff, 70% of whom are fully dedicated to the YummyPets platform.

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

Before YummyPets we set up Octopepper - now a four-year-old web design and digital agency based in Bordeaux.

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?

The idea to create YummyPets came from a combination of several things. We were developing a range of websites for big brands and wanted a project to try something new. We also knew that the pet market was booming so we put two and two together to create the social platform.

35-40 seconds: What's the smartest thing you've done so far?

This has to be building a young and talented team capable of rapidly launching new features. When you grow so quickly it's hard to recruit and build new features whilst keeping the same high quality and good team spirit.

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?

We may have underestimated the workload when it came to international roll-out of YummyPets. Developing communication strategies, overcoming language barriers, understanding other cultures and pet markets in each country has taken more time and resource than we had anticipated. We realised we cannot do everything ourselves so have surrounded ourselves with strong partners on both the operation and technical side. 

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?

It would be a Fortune Cookie - no hesitation. Our agency, Octopepper, was the French partner of the former London agency Fortune Cookie, now renamed POSSIBLE.

50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?

I think TheFancy.com is very clever. It has the perfect mix between beautiful objects, clothes and places as well as a great business model (offering both one-off purchases and subscription based purchases). All the while, the site's design has stayed simple, clean and user-friendly.

55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?

We want to be everywhere in the world with over 500,000 users. We've started our international expansion with the UK this month. The U.S. and Brazil will follow shortly and eventually pets from any country will be joining the community.

By this time next year, we want to be talking to you about international success which is no mean feat for a young French start-up!

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