Why Madpaws founder Alexis Soulopoulos is getting ready to serve up an ace

This is the second article in a series that throws the spotlight on startups working in Sydney co-working space Fishburners.


Surrounding yourself with talented people and being willing to learn from them is the key to startup success. Since founding pet-sitting website Madpaws.com.au in August 2014 I’ve learnt an enormous amount.


Reflecting on our growth, I see people as one of the most important factors. By surrounding myself with those who have superior qualities to me, I feel myself advancing rapidly, learning from their experiences.


In the past, I played tennis with a companion that was able to beat me every single time. Yet each time he won, my desire to defeat him grew and grew. This craving consumed me, I trained harder and smarter. I observed his moves and tactics, copying them so as to use them against him. My tactics and abilities advanced rapidly, but unfortunately I’ve still not managed to beat him. I’m reminded of this every time I go to drinks with my friends, and my face glows red when pressed about it, but I remember something important. The challenge has made me into the tennis player I otherwise would not be.


I’ve only just entered the startup game and to be surrounded by people that are better than me in many ways stokes that same competitive fire I feel after those tennis games. It pushes me to better myself faster than I otherwise would.


Being surrounded by talented individuals and learning from them has been vital to my development. I recognise that I have been fortunate to be united by such amazing people; our advisors, neighbouring startups in our co-working space Fishburners, and our incredible employees. It amazes me how many people in the Australian startup community happily pass on their knowledge.


You can’t do everything yourself and it’s important to acknowledge that even if you could, you would not necessarily be the best person to take on certain tasks or carry the combined weight of responsibility. Joining forces with exceptional people allows you to focus on and further develop your strengths by trusting others with responsibilities in areas in which they have better skills. We wouldn’t survive if we hadn’t have built the Madpaws team with this in mind.


Great people attract great people and I believe this is because they recognise the opportunity to learn from others.


Of course I sometimes felt the tendency, particularly after a series of losses on my part, to play tennis with friends of a lesser skill level. And yes, I’d feel like a winner, but I wouldn’t be developing my talent.


The same is true with this business. TheMadpaws goal is very clear: we want to be the leading platform for pet-sitting in Australia. I truly believe that surrounding this business with great advisors, a successful startup community in Fishburners and a great team sets the bar at such a level that the business is pressed to reach critical mass faster.


Just as I am confident that one day I will beat my friend in tennis, I am confident that we will reach our goal with Madpaws.com.au.


Alexis Soulopoulos is the CEO and co-founder of Madpaws.com.au.


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