An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with John Hussey, the founder and CEO of Cuddly, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Cuddly – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
CUDDLY was presented to me as an angel investment proposal to build a website that promotes pet adoption with a crowdfunding component. Since I invested personal money and also raised a friends and family funding round, I had to step in and run the business when my co-founder had to depart the company for personal reasons. I had no idea my investment would turn into a full-time job. Now, as a social-good company, CUDDLY enables over 2,000 animal rescue organizations to create their own fundraisers, organize wish lists, and gain financial support for initiatives that save animals in the most critical of conditions.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
I was invited to pitch our company onstage at the Launch Start-Up Festival in San Francisco. What I did not realize was how nervous I would be trying to tell our story in three minutes in front of a panel of judges and over 3,000 investors in the audience. Officiating the Super Bowl as an NFL referee in front of millions of people was far less intimidating than pitching our company in this setting. I’ve learned that you need to practice your pitch and solidify your plans so you can really nail it when the time comes. That initial experience makes pitching today in any environment far less intimidating.
What does the future hold for CUDDLY?
CUDDLY is the only dedicated crowdfunding platform built specifically for non-profit animal welfare organizations worldwide. We will continue to innovate and provide our sheltering partners with a suite of tools that they can utilize to raise the necessary funds and products in support of the animals in their care.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Seal Beach?
Seal Beach is a small beach town, so the tech scene is still up and upcoming. We are nestled between Orange and Los Angeles counties, so there’s an enormous amount of talent and opportunities available.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Starting a business requires an extraordinary amount of time, energy, and resources, so pursue work that you truly care about while staying focused on the end results. Realize that no one succeeds in growing a business alone. Build a team who will help bolster your success and reward them accordingly along the way.