How we benefit from the Startup Grind Membership: Animal ID
“It’s a great community of startup founders, mentors, and investors from all over the world that gives to its members the knowledge, inspiration, experiences, and a lot of useful connections!”
This is how Vasyl Dub, founder of Animal ID describes Startup Grind. Startup Grind’s relationship with Vasyl and Animal ID goes back to the 2020 Global Conference. Animal ID was an exhibiting startup at the conference and in-fact that was where they first met with one of their current investors!
In this article, we interview Vasyl and talk about many things including his journey as a startup founder, his take on how to prepare for startup conferences, how to make the most out of them, and of course how his experience of being a member of our global Startup Program has been over the last 2 years.
— First of all, tell us a little about Animal ID and how did it come to be?
Animal ID is a platform that helps keep pets safe and healthy by providing QR pet ID tags and a special mobile APP. Unfortunately, there are a lot of stray and homeless pets that live in shelters and on the streets, and millions of pets are getting lost all around the world every year. First, we started helping with homeless pet adoption in Europe as volunteers but soon understood that the problem was global.
A lot of people and organizations from all over the world work to solve it and they spend a lot of time and money. That’s why we created the Animal ID platform. We started with a solution for pets identification and gradually evolved it into the pet-centric B2B2C platform. To date, we have raised $700,000 of external funding, have 350K of registered pets on Animal ID.
— How has being part of the Startup Grind community for the last 2 years been of use to you and your startup?
Startup Grind builds a global international community of like-minded entrepreneurs. A strong community helps to find co-founders, first users, investors, and partners. So many people are ready to share their experiences, and the community gives us the opportunity to meet with them.
“I feel that Startup Grind managers know me as a founder and what our company does very well. They really try to help.”
They introduced us to companies that provide solutions we may need. Usually, we can have good discounts or even grants from them. For example, we get more free credits from AWS in 2020! Also, there were a lot of useful online meet-ups on different topics during this time period. It helps us to be inspired and motivated all the time and to receive good advice on our everyday challenges.
— Can you briefly describe your experience at the 2021 Startup Summit and Global Conference?
We are attending for the second year in a row, and every time this event brings a lot of value for us and thousands of startups from all over the world. For example, last year we met our current investor, many new friends, and potential partners. This year it was held online, so even though we could not interact with people in person, we were able to connect with a lot more people than usual and listen to many more talks. We received five free tickets for our team members to all events; we were well promoted — I’ve received many introductions to potential partners and investors even before the conference started. And I am still receiving it as well as many connection requests from like-minded entrepreneurs!
“At the Startup Summit I liked the round tables the most. There were experts with extensive experience in investing, product development, leadership and culture, marketing-sales ideas, and more. All attendees were able to work in small groups and founders could ask questions and receive feedback from speakers immediately.”
— You mentioned that you met one of your current investors at the 2020 Global Conference. Can you tell us a little more about how you met them?
We met with our investor when it was really busy near our exhibition booth. We had a short conversation and we gave him prepared information, so he could remember us after contacting hundreds of other teams the next day. A few days later, he called us and we met for the second time and discussed our business and vision in more detail. Also, we found that we had many common interests outside the business and we became friends soon after. When we started to raise money in Summer 2020 he was happy to invest.
— How did you prepare to make the most out of these conferences and what advice would you give to other founders?
“It is important to do your homework before the conference starts as your goal should be to meet as many people as you can in a very limited time.”
Last year, we prepared different things to attract the attention of people when crossing by our booth. We had samples of our products with funny designs, stickers for laptops and badges to give away. The second thing is that you need to engage as many people from your team to take part in the conference as you can. Because if someone is interested near your booth but you are busy with another one, usually this person will not wait more than 10–20 seconds. The third thing is my rule when exhibiting — to work near your booth to the late end, to be the last one in the exhibition hall! I use this opportunity, as you can have all the attention from visitors that are still there, and you never know who else you can meet.
During the SGGC 2020, we were the last startup in the exhibition hall and we met one managing partner of a VC firm and an angel investor at the same time. We had a very long and interesting conversation. We found that we have many common interests, a few common friends, and that our cats have the same names — Kiki :) In the next few days we had a few more meetings with him, he introduced us to his friends who were also investors, and we still keep in touch. We are currently raising a seed round of investment, and he is one of the potential investors in this round.
This year the conference was online so it was a little bit different. As preparation, I tried to find people from the speakers’ list who I would like to meet. I prepared questions to ask, and connected with many of them on LinkedIn or Facebook before the conference. Then, it is very important to be active when a speaker begins to answer questions from the audience. Always start with introducing yourself, say your startup name, and a one-sentence pitch before the question but be short and precise. You never know when you will meet this person next, but when it happens they will remember you and it always will help you to build better relationships to raise money or have a warm introduction to other people from their network.
“Now you have a lot of new friends and opportunities. Follow up and send them emails or messages to continue the conversation. Once you connect with them on social media, they will be able to see your progress.”
— Lastly… What advice would you give to other founders?
Use every possibility to build your network. Communicate with other entrepreneurs. Listen to top-tier people’s experiences and try to learn from others’ mistakes. It will help you save a lot of time and money. Use every chance to pitch your startup even if you are not 100% ready. Be ambitious, but don’t expect anything — it will prevent burnout and gives you positive vibes during the startup building process. And of course, never give up — always keep trying.