Josh Guttman, Co-founder and CEO of Small Door on Reimagining the Veterinary Experience and the War for Talent

My good friend Josh is the co-founder and CEO of Small Door, a startup that is completely overhauling the pet care industry with a tech-infused membership model. It’s a magical bricks-and-mortar meets software experience. And we go deep on what it takes to build a retail-physical-software company smack in the middle of a global pandemic. Prior to co-founding Small Door, Josh was a successful investor at Softbank, and before that he was part of the management team at public company Outbrain ($OB). I’m a personal investor in the company, so let’s just say Josh is probably going to need a bigger door when I bring my horse in to his West Village location.

You can listen to the podcast here on Spotify or Apple podcast and now all the episodes are on my YouTube channel as well.

You can also listen right here on the blog:

Guest: Josh Guttman

Profile: Co-founder and CEO of Small Door

Where to Find Him: Twitter, LinkedIn

What’s Josh Panicked About?: The Stock Market

The Takeaways:

If you’re entering a category where your foundational technology doesn’t exist yet, study the best practices from adjacent industries. Josh studied other brands like Warby Parker and Sweetgreen’s Danny Meyer. These insights allowed him to create a highly branded experience and model of pet medical care that drives efficiency. In fact, Meyer’s book, Setting the Table is required reading for all new Small Door employees. In addition, there’s a war for talent right now. And it’s across all sectors. Every category is fighting the war for engineers, marketers, and operators. The pandemic has caused a lot of disruption. People are reconsidering their goals. Many have moved. Many have chosen new careers. If you’re building out your engineering team you’re fighting these talent wars nonstop. But at the end of the day, winning the talent war is about relationships.

Show Notes:

  • (00:38) – Intro
  • (03:10) – Welcome Josh
  • (06:15) – Disrupting pet care
  • (09:26) – Planning, research and executing
  • (10:49) – Launching in a pandemic
  • (13:08) – Reaching profitability
  • (16:18) – Scaling brick and mortar
  • (22:21) – High-end offerings
  • (27:15) – Working on something mission driven
  • (28:37) – The war for talent
  • (32:56) – Fundraising during a pandemic
  • (34:12) – Dealing with Private Equity
  • (39:59) – Wrapping it up
  • (40:53) – Closing thoughts