Search Interviews:

Jeremy Weisz 12:34 

Was there, I imagine there was some previous relationship there that you had with them, because it’s not easy. I mean, generally to clean up, multi seven figure or seven figure deal with a company.

Susan Groeneveld 16:09 

Yeah. And that came through, I’d worked in agencies for over eight years, and I’m a big fan of, like, putting in the time and putting in the grind and learning. I know we change more now in our careers, but I would really encourage you, if you find a good gig, put in the time, because if you’ve got your end in mind, you’re going to learn a lot through that. And so through that, I was building, both of us were building really solid relationships, but this opportunity came through, and a merger and acquisition, so people had to divest products, and other people were picking up the products.

And I actually had people that were helping me behind the scenes, and I didn’t even know it. And so that would be my other takeaway is, when you put in the time with people and you build those solid relationships, they will help you to the next so, good impression, but really respecting people that have come ahead of you, and really spending time with mentors, they will actually open doors, and that’s exactly what happened for us.

Jeremy Weisz 17:20 

Susan, the initial company, when you first started the company, what were the services that you were offering? And I want to just maybe hear about how they evolved over time, because, right off the bat. So what were the services at that time?

Susan Groeneveld 17:34 

And in 2003 so we were still saying, fully integrated. And so we made soup with nuts. I came in from a PR point of view, but I also did strategy work. So because I really like business model thinking, and that’s where I would tend to go, is to solve that bigger problem, and then the execution I needed to hand that off. So we still said we were fully integrated. So we did advertising, TV, and radio. We did something, this is 2003 so we opened a website, doing web work. And again, right? That curious nature. I’d spent a lot of time in my previous agency, on the website, digital side, because no one else wanted to do it, if you can imagine, right? Like this was just like no one else thought it was going to be this big a deal. And so we really focused on the digital and we embraced it.

And the other thing that we did when we built this company is we didn’t pick people out of agriculture to come join us. Which was the default, you keep your client happy because you’re both like-minded, and you both came from a farm. We actually brought in people that were digital to agriculture, and that was no small feat, by the way. But now everybody wants in back then everyone’s like, why do we want to work with people in agriculture that, it’s kind of boring, and we’re like, it’s super not boring, but we really worked hard to bring in experts from outside of our own networks, and that set us apart from everybody else in the space, because it was a real old boys club in agriculture at that time.

Jeremy Weisz 19:17 

Probably still is, in a lot of respects.

Susan Groeneveld 19:19 

We’ve actually, as a company, we’ve really stood for DEI. As a woman, I’m a co-founder with my husband, but as a woman founder, I value outside thinking and collaboration above everything. And so the more diverse, the better. And so we want to bring that to agriculture. And it’s interesting, because a lot of the companies are still held by a certain type of industry, agriculture, predominantly has been white male, but now we’re seeing this whole new group of people coming that have. Diversity all over the place, and we’re the agency to embrace it. It’s a really big mandate for us to bring that to agriculture. It’s only going to make it better and more relevant.

Jeremy Weisz 20:12 

I want to talk about some clients. I mean milestones. I mean, that’s a huge milestone right off the bat with the first client. But talk about the hiring piece. Who do you decide to hire in the beginning as you’re prepping for the client that doesn’t show up until seven months.

Susan Groeneveld 20:30 

So this is a really good question, and I’m so glad you asked it, so traditional agencies, and this is so I’m just going to say it the way I feel it. Traditional agencies make money based on fees per hour, like a lawyer or an accountant. That is an incredibly broken model, in my opinion, because then you’re getting paid for inefficiency. So I think that was a good idea, like maybe in the 1800s when everyone didn’t think much about hours and value of time. Now this is like the worst way to do business, in my opinion. And so we said early on, we’re going to build a team, and we want to scale, but we want to scale to what the client needs, not to who we have on staff.

And so we’re going to embrace freelancers, we’re going to embrace pivots, we’re going to embrace change, and we want to find the right people at the right time, rather than building out a stable because in that traditional hourly model, you hire people, and then you need to get them paid for and so guess what, you’ve hired a bunch of print people or a bunch of web people, and you have to make sure they get paid. So guess what? You’re going to tell the client they need

Jeremy Weisz 21:40 

A website or whatever it is.

Susan Groeneveld 21:43 

Right. So you’ve completely forgotten about why you’re doing the work, because you’re trying to keep the client happy in air quotes, but you’re pushing your agenda on them, because that’s what you have. So we broke that model right off the hop and said, we’re not going to be that. We’re going to be agnostic. And in fact, in the early years, we did not offer media because we did not want the cash flow of media to support the creative that we were doing. We wanted the creative to be good enough to stand on its own, versus most companies that have a media arm that cash flows are actually what’s paying for the business. So we brought digital, we brought media in. We did that in 2017 because we want the data, because the data now is driving a lot of the decision making.

And so we brought the media in, but not to be a cash cow, but to tell us what actually people are doing with a certain product or service. So at the beginning, those getting the right people were a lot of contract people, but we built contracts based on people that we’d like to scale with, and then we had tipping points of when it was right to bring in more people. So this group that you see here, that’s our core. We can’t live without them. But beyond this, we have, I think our Freelancer list has over 100 freelancers, and as you know now, post Covid, this has become even more accessible. So our systems have to be very tight to be able to bring in contractors, but our clients have no problem, because it’s more cost efficient for them. So culture’s super important, though, so that the Freelancers want to work with us, right? So we pay them on time. We pay them ahead of time. Those have all been kinks that we’ve worked out since the beginning.

Jeremy Weisz 22:36 

Who were the original hires, or what positions rather?

Susan Groeneveld 23:44 

Well, yeah, so our original hire was actually a bookkeeper, because both Jeff and I didn’t, we needed, like, a, say, bookkeeper slash office manager, somebody that was just like, making sure that we were paying our bills and getting all that done. That was our very first hire. And then after that, we brought in client service people, people that could be, if you want to call them customer success from a digital point of view, but people that were making sure the client was getting what they’re needing. And then after that, we started to build out the creative team right in terms of execution.

And we’ve always gone back and forth about, do you hire a junior and train them, or do you hire a senior and build it down? And after 20 some years of this, I would say always hire up, meaning hire a senior that wants to get their hands dirty, and that really loves the work. And I think that’s one of the things that’s really stood out for us, is the people that work with us, they’re coming to us because they really want to touch the work still. So we’re getting to work with really high end people across North America, because if they’ve had a bigger one. Agency experience, they’ve been burnt out in the, it’s death by 1000 butter knife cuts, right? So we can really attract a really strong talent pool that way.

Jeremy Weisz 25:13 

Are there any tips that you have for vetting contractors? Because, obviously, like you said, you have specific systems and processes to make sure to maintain that quality across no matter if you have to scale up or down if you get a big client. What are some ways you’ve vetted contractors that’ve been helpful?

Susan Groeneveld 25:36 

Yeah. So I’m going to start actually with the agency versus the people. You can find the right people to do the right work, but if you don’t know what they want you want them to do, or you don’t have a proper brief for them, it’s a failure. You’re not going to get what you want, and it’s not the person’s fault. So you have to have your homework done. You have to have decent timelines. You have to give these people a shot, but we do a lot of word of mouth. Now, we’ve gotten to a point now where it’s people through our network, and so if you’re doing good work and people like you, then we’ll probably find you, but we’ll go out and we’ll look on LinkedIn, we’ll look at other competitors in the space, like our clients, competitors, and who’s doing writing for them.

We have our own people, quite frankly, that they’re asked to do freelance now all the time, right? And they will usually decline, like they’re not about it, but it’s become such a fluid space that if you’re doing good work, people will find you, but we’re basically we’ll hone in on what we really need. The biggest fault for freelancers is not the Freelancers problem, but the companies where the project started out one way and then it turned into something else, and they weren’t given the right information, and then it’s just easy to blame the freelancer, and that’s really not usually the case.

Jeremy Weisz 27:01 

How do you decide your core team, what’s kind of the responsibility of the core team that’s not really changing?

Susan Groeneveld 27:10 

Yeah, so we look at that, and it’s like, what can we not afford to freelance? Is the way to look at it, right? Like, what can we not afford to freelance? So, really strong creative direction strategy, sorry, like creative strategy, really strong strategy, strategy in terms of, we’re working with people that are, like, 30 years in strategy and account planning, account service, the senior people in account service. This has changed since Covid, by the way. We used to think that all account people had to be full time, and now it’s really the senior people. So your core is the brains, and they have to be able to manage people and understand when they need freelance.

And so the way our structure is we’ve got our digital. When I say creative, digital is part of creativity, like the head of our creative team is actually a digital expert, not a design expert, and we’ve done that on purpose to keep it true to digital. But skill sets are merging now, and things are commoditizing. So it’s really the, we have a core in creative. We have a core in content. Digital is part of creativity. And then we have a core in account service, and then everything after that, like lead gen, we need experts in that, but we actually find that we can outsource that quite easily and lead gen and then bring it back to our core. That’s like a digital lead.

Jeremy Weisz 28:54 

So you start off, you get an amazing client off the bat. What was the next major milestone with WS?

Susan Groeneveld 29:01 

So this is a happy story for me, because the first one was great, but it also, as an entrepreneur, is terrifying. So, you’ve got a gorilla, and if the gorilla decides to, like, pack it up, then you’re nowhere. So it’s much better to have, like, three orangutans versus one gorilla, right? So our next orangutan, I’ll say we actually worked quite hard at this. It was again through networks, and it was an animal health company, so it was a nice compliment. It was non competing with our first client, but it was also a significant budget that came in and that came in 2000 that came in four years after our first. And I might add, I had another baby in between which was totally not part of the equation. But, I was grateful for the journeys. So we had a lot going on. We had three kids. But anyways, that being said, Bayer Animal Health came to the table and I’d had relationships.

Jeremy Weisz 29:02 

That seems like more of a gorilla than an orangutan.

Susan Groeneveld 29:21 

Right. They were big. Well, they came in, yeah, well, I mean, however you want to frame it, right? But they came to us because we sent them a Christmas card, and they said, oh, we wondered where you went. That’s fantastic. We should talk. And they brought us in for a project, physical mail works like it was about the relationship, right? And Garth Graham, and I’ll give him a big shout out, was our client there? And he said, yeah, no. He says, I want you to come and help me with this product. I don’t know what to do with this product, so we went in and we did some facilitating to get their team on board from a strategy point of view, because they weren’t, by the end of it, I pulled the head of the company aside, and I said, I don’t think you’re going to hit your numbers with this product.

With this product. And he said, you know what? It’s okay. We’re the last country to get it registered. You know? We know what we’re doing, and it’s okay. And I said, Okay, so we left, and we thought we did a terrible job, because we didn’t help our Garth with what his agenda was in terms of getting, if anything, it showed how just discordant everything was. And he called, he called after, and he said, you know what? He says, we’re going to consolidate agencies. We want you to pitch for it. And let’s go. So we did the pitch, and we won the business, and we started it, thinking it would be about half a million in Billings, and at its height, it was almost 2 million in Billings.

Jeremy Weisz 31:49 

Wow. So what were you doing for them? What were some of the things?

Susan Groeneveld 31:52 

Again, we did all the brand positioning for their products. We did all the advertising. We did TV and radio our TV. It was a beautiful, beautiful TV spot. And multi-million dollar media buys with that. And then we did the clinic advertising. So, they sell through vet clinics. So then we’d have to build tools for that, we also introduced some of our first digital tools to them. And again, this was a really burgeoning time where a lot of product people were promising they could do things, and then when they got executed, it was like, it was a startup within an agency, like, we know we have to do this stuff, but if I think about it, right, there’s pivots going on all the time through marketing, because we always keep changing, right? But there’s some things that worked and didn’t work.

I can remember being in client meetings, and we’re launching it to the sales team. There’s 250 people in the room, and they’re trying to get the WiFi to work, and the site won’t come up, and they’re just like banging on the keyboard, and I’m thinking, oh, where’s my team? Why isn’t it working? Is it just horrifying, but when you have good relationships with your clients, you can work through all of that, right? If you’re not in a transactional relationship, you can actually really do good marketing.

Jeremy Weisz 33:26 

What were some of the digital tools that you were using at that time?

Susan Groeneveld 33:30 

Oh, my God. So, we hired in, in our core, web dev people, right? So we were building things on iPads, they were using the for, I don’t even know what they were using for the coding. We were trying to cherry pick people out of, like digital only agencies, and then you start to go, oh, my God, this whole thing’s a bit of a cluster cast, like nobody’s got this figured out, but everybody’s promising to their clients they’ve got it like, nailed down. And so I can’t even remember some of the early days like, they would be able to tell you the coding, but I can tell you from the client interface it wasn’t super awesome, because we’d make promises. We had a company that did 150 different events across North America with them in rural agriculture, that was farm equipment.

Jeremy Weisz 34:29 

What kind of events like, what would an event look like?

Susan Groeneveld 34:33 

We called it the bums and seats tour, but it was demoing tractors. So this was a, it’s called versatile. It was a company, they have a confident critical technology, meaning it’s not a John Deere, but it’ll last forever, but it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles at that time. And so we knew that if we could get people into the seat of the tractor, they’d buy it, but just looking at it, they’re not going to buy it. So these events, we templated a road show where we’d roll in pre-qualified people, get them into the tractor, get them doing a demo, and then we helped them sell over $200 million worth of equipment.

Jeremy Weisz 35:13 

Wow, how did you get those people there? Like, I mean, obviously, hey, come sit in this tractor, right? Not that compelling. What were you doing in the market to get them? I’m sure they’re traveling, we’re talking rural, right? So it’s not like, I’m in Chicago, I’m driving, like, 10 minutes. They’re probably driving for an hour or more. Who knows.

Susan Groeneveld 35:33 

Oh, for sure. And, I mean, there’s a few things, right, about farming, and these are generally really high trust people, right? And they’re going to be helpful, but you need to add value to them, right? So we went out ahead of the event, right? And we pre-qualified, so we asked them to sign up, so we did advertising, right? And we really were creative. It looked like you’re going to like a Taylor Swift concert. It’s the best analogy, right? Like, we called it like, not the eras tour, but like, we had different names for the different times, and it was like, we’re shopping here. And we were building that momentum. We did T-shirts with all the stops on the back, like you had gone to a concert. And so we really built out, it was like the iron tour or like things that really were captivating to a farmer, so they didn’t want to miss out on that, plus they knew that they’d have friends going.

Jeremy Weisz 36:29 

So kind of a networking community. Feel it.

Susan Groeneveld 36:33 

And this is usually how agriculture works, right? Is that because they’re so closely knitted, this is usually how it works. But the difference was that we didn’t want everybody’s family to be there for the steak on a piece of bread. We wanted people that were pre-qualified to buy. So we built out all their data. And I mean, now we do this all the time, right? But back then, we actually built out the data. And we could see that this person had so many acres of land, we had them answer information ahead of time, and then we actually put them in as if they had us a time to be in the seat. And so we literally put a bum in the seat to have them drive the tractor. And it was so successful that this company actually, when they brought on new people to sell their product, like new distributors, that they actually mandated they have to have one of these events when they came into the fold for that company, because they could see how easy it was to sell them.

Jeremy Weisz 37:41 

I mean, do it, what works, right? Rinse and repeat. But I love it’s like, it’s a community event. People want to see their friends. Also, you were delivering value. You were kind of doing a lot of research ahead of time, so you kind of knew how this would benefit them, not just like anyone, but it actually would benefit them because of the research. I’m going to pull up your site for a second because I’d love to hear more about a few that kind of stuck out to me. So if you’re listening to the audio, we’re in simplyws.com on the work section. So some beautiful imagery here, but one that sticks out is this call the farms.ca, talk about the image for a second, and what’d you do with Call The Farms? Yeah,

Susan Groeneveld 38:28 

So, this gives me Goosebumps, actually, and this was pre Covid. I’m gonna say. This was pre Covid, but this was when there was a lot of tension between agriculture, GMOs, and consumers. So do you remember that time when we really hated all the big multinationals? I know we still do, but the farmers were feeling like they were under weather because they felt like they had to defend the industry. And so this is actually a group in I think Canada, and it’s called Canadian outstanding young farmers. And this actually celebrates people between the ages of 18 and 39 that are coming into agriculture and they’re getting it done. They have to have two thirds of their income being made off of the farm. And they’re really the next generation of farmers.

And so we wanted to create a campaign that really celebrated what they were doing. And this was speaking to the farmers themselves, and this gave just a bit of a Banksy feel to how they felt like they were under attack. And so we were going to bring it all together and really rally the farms together to say, hey, we can do this together. And we just need to help people know that we are well intentioned. And there’s lots of us involved, and the farmers really have a heartbeat. And do you know that in research, farmers, the individual farmers now, not because of this, but as part of the trend, they’re actually more trusted than doctors to consumers like we really are rooting for farmers as consumers, but there was this really high tension between the two, so we really, we just wanted to really tap into that and let farmers know that this was a group that they could be a part of to feel good about themselves and that come together, high tide rises, all boat raises, all boats.

Jeremy Weisz 38:45 

So you kind of, you talk to the stakeholders, and you come up with campaigns. And especially this imagery that we’re looking at.

Susan Groeneveld 40:37 

Yes, we came up with the imagery. I’d have to go back to the brief that we gave the team. We actually, when we briefed the creative team, we actually did it out away from like it wasn’t just at a table, right? We went out into the field and helped people understand how this group kind of felt like they were under attack sometimes, right? And again, it’s a very different vibe now, but when we did this work, it was really compelling. And farmers were a little sheepish about it too, because they didn’t want to admit that they felt under attack.

Jeremy Weisz 41:16 

Yeah, I mean, it’s, I don’t know if racy is the right word, but it’s like, it’s pretty bold, right?

Susan Groeneveld 41:20 

Yeah, yep.

Jeremy Weisz 41:24 

Talk about the work within Cat Healthy for a second.

Susan Groeneveld 41:28 

yeah. So Cat Healthy was working in animal health companies. I spent 20 years talking to different companies about trying to help clinics sell their products. And one of the things that kept coming up was cats just really, there were no budgets for cat work, like the cat drugs and because they don’t go to the clinic. So they don’t sell as much product. And then I thought, well, why? And it’s because people don’t like to take their cats to the clinic. Then we think about why, and it’s like, Oh, I thought, oh, maybe it’s the carrier, like sticking a cat in a carrier. And then actually started to understand it’s because cats hide their pain. We don’t even know that they’re in trouble. And so I created a not for profit called Cat Healthy. Cat Health, then did it with my co-founder Liz O’Brien, who is a feline specialist in Calgary in Canada, a wonderful woman. And we brought together all the feline specialists in Canada to create protocols for cat care.

And the multinationals then paid us to create those protocols and such. And this spin-off, this campaign that you just saw was with Royal Canin, one of our sponsors, through Cat Healthy. And this is really interesting. This approach to cats is subtle, and so is the marketing. And this was about us proving out that how we talk to cat people are very different from how we talk to dog people. And so we had deep insights. Cats don’t go to the dog park, right? We’re on the internet. Cat owners think they know their cats best because the cats don’t show pain. So how can we help people understand that their cats need their care? And so these were helping to bridge that. So this is award-winning throughout North America, and it was really about building community and driving higher trust for companies like Royal Canin by understanding cats and letting people know that they understand cats.

Jeremy Weisz 43:43 

What was the original idea behind Cat Healthy? Because it seemed like it kind of took a life of its own.

Susan Groeneveld 43:49 

It did take a, well said. The idea, honestly, the idea, day one, was for me to generate revenue through all of these different multinationals with the same vested interest, and I saw that Cat Healthy could be a way to like, get paid to do this work. At some point, though, one of the companies said, we want to own Cat Healthy. And Liz and I said, that’s not going to work, because you’re just going to like it, it’ll just become nothing, right? Because the company will get a hold of it and it, they’ll bury it. It’s just the way companies work. So we actually then spun it out and created a not-for-profit.

Jeremy Weisz 44:28 

So originally it was for profit.

Susan Groeneveld 44:30 

Well, originally it was an idea. Cat Healthy was an idea. And then it was just an idea. And we said, hey, let’s bring a bunch of people together. And they wrote checks, which was amazing. And then year two, we said, okay, let’s incorporate as a not-for-profit, so no one can touch the high-minded work and they can sponsor it. And that’s been a very, very lucrative path. It was a very good, lucrative pathway. But what happened is the marketers keep changing in these companies. So we felt like we’d have to go back in time and tell them about why it’s harder to get this done for cats than dogs. And that actually led me to Sylvester AI thinking, how can we move faster for cats? Because it’s not about education.

Cat owners are well-intentioned, but this idea came out of the work of the agency and the not-for-profit, and knowing that we’re still not doing enough for cats, and I have a whole elevator speech on this, but where we are today is this technology can take a picture of a cat’s face on a phone and know if that cat’s in pain or not, meaning we’re helping the cat get to proper care less than, well, not, almost none of the cat. Well, I got to frame this, right? A person that does end-of-life care like euthanasia, that’s all they do. To do 100,000 that’s it, a month. It’s a thing. A month? Yeah, they have 300 veterinarians.

They’re based in the US, and because cats like us have all these pets, right? They’re not going to live as long as we are. We have to deal with this. Of the cats that they see, almost none of them have been to a vet in the year previous to euthanasia, meaning it’s not because people don’t want to take them, they just didn’t even know it was that bad.

Jeremy Weisz 46:27 

So it’s almost too late at that point. Well, by the time they get to them, they realize there were no signs, they weren’t identifying any signs, and then it’s so far gone or whatever is going on with them.

Susan Groeneveld 46:40 

Yeah. I mean, yes and no, right? I mean, like everything, it’s more nuanced. But there would be ways to help these cats live longer lives. There are more products coming for cats to help them live longer lives. We just don’t know that they need them. So that’s the whole impetus of this text.

Jeremy Weisz 46:59 

I mean, one of the themes too, especially with Cat Healthy too Susan, is partnerships, right? And you partnered with Liz on that one, also you had a really expert strategic partner as well.

Susan Groeneveld 47:14 

Yes, that’s exactly right. So with this one, because this isn’t my first, as an entrepreneur, a lot of ideas come out on the internet, right? And you see them. And the way I frame it up is like, can I let it go, if somebody else did this and it went really big, would I be okay? And I finally got to this one, and I’m like, okay, I’m not okay. If this goes really big, I’m not going to be okay. And so I had an idea. I knew about pain scales that veterinarians were using, but I don’t do AI, and I have no understanding of AI, and so I reached out to Alta ML, their adventure studio, University of Alberta is ranked number three in the world for Data Science. Who knew that the tech that beat Gary Kasparov, came out of the thinking, came out of the University of Alberta when the chess player was beaten.

And so before we incorporated Sylvester, Alta ML and ourselves, said, Okay, let’s just see if there’s something here. So we actually got data sets from feline specialists through Cat Healthy, and we applied the AI to their face, and we had over 96% accuracy in the first run of the data. And then we went, okay, there’s something crazy good here. And so that’s when we incorporated it. So they understood, Alta ml understood DC, and AI. Corey Jansen actually created Investopedia and sold it to Forbes. So he understood the business side, and so they were a crucially good early partner for us for this tech.

Jeremy Weisz 49:02 

Talk about the business. And you can see here, because I first was researching you before WS actually came up with Sylvester. I’m like, what am I getting into with this interview? I’m talking about cat AI, and it’s kind of a fascinating pathway that’s led you to several venture offshoots. But what did you see as the business side of Sylvester?

Susan Groeneveld 49:31 

Yeah, it’s a very good, very, very, very good point. And I think at the beginning I thought direct-to-consumer help cat owners see that there’s pain, so they go to the vet. The vet gets more revenue, but we also get better care for these cats, right?

Jeremy Weisz 49:50 

So it’s like a free app. Is that how people…

Susan Groeneveld 49:55 

Yeah, so Jeremy, we started that way because that’s what I thought would be a good pathway. So we started that way, and we had an MVP, and actually Wired UK found us and picked us up, because, I mean, it’s cats, and they wrote about us.

Jeremy Weisz 50:10 

People love cats, cat pictures, and cat videos.

Susan Groeneveld 50:12 

It’s like the biggest thing on the internet, right? So, Wired UK wrote about us. Reuters picked us up, and we had 54,000 downloads of our free app in one week. And so then we were like, okay, this is a big deal. This is a really big deal. So we actually did freemium model testing to subscription with cat owners during 22 and 22 and we had a decent conversion at 3% but you know what I was doing with this tech was I was alerting people to a problem with their cat, and I wasn’t giving them a solution. So it didn’t feel great without having and we could have, like, plugged in our own veterinarians and whatnot, but I thought, I think I’m going to pivot this company.

I know that it’s going to take a lot of capital to do marketing, and I mean, there’s a big appetite with pet owners, but if I start with veterinary clinics, it’s curated, and we know that the tech is accurate, because there’s also a real danger with this tech for it to become novelty, because it’s cats, and so all my early investors now are veterinarians, and we’re actually selling it through clinics or remote patient monitoring. And so we slowed it down. And this was actually a big learning for someone that has a marketing background. We tend to want to go fast and find the solution. We’re paid to be like, right? But I actually had to dial it right back, slow it right down. And there’s a saying now that I, this is my mantra, slow is smooth, smooth is fast. So all those assumptions that we make at the beginning are all bad, and we make gut feelings on them, right? And so if we just slow it down and get some data, then we can actually build something that’s scalable.

And so that’s what we’re doing right now, selling through clinics, is we’re building a scalable, repeatable revenue model that’s going to really ensure our success. We’re launched in Singapore. I have discussions in France to launch there this month, and we have several big conversations happening in the US and Canada with digital platforms, because now we’re an API, we’re not an app. So you won’t find us in the Apple store. Ask your veterinarian about the technology if you’re interested in trying it, because that’s how we’re going to, you know, bring it to market.

Jeremy Weisz 50:15 

So will the vets then have a subscription they can use, that they will pay for, that they can use for their patients, and can access to monitor, like early detection for their cats. So it’s more like a B2B model before it was kind of a B2C.

Susan Groeneveld 52:56 

Yes, yeah, we pivoted a B2C and B2C, the numbers were fantastic, but we wanted it to be more curated. And access to care is a big deal. I have a lot of people saying, hey, we’re in remote areas. This would be amazing technology. So I want to do that as well. It’s just, I’m still in startup mode in terms of validating that business model, and then we’ll get there.

Jeremy Weisz 53:21 

Yeah, you have to make it sustainable, because you have staff, you have people, and it’s got to pay for itself at some point.

Susan Groeneveld 53:29 

Yeah, we have a lot of VCs interested. You can imagine, there’s animal health companies that are interested, and then there’s AI companies that are interested. And so it’s very frothy right now, but I’m learning a ton. And the other thing that I’m learning as a marketer is we say a lot of gobbledygook stuff in marketing that really is a waste of time. So I can actually now come back to WS and say, folks, let’s stop with all the 20-page decks, like, let’s just get to it. Let’s make it about an outcome. Let’s not prove that we’re valuable. Let’s show them that we’re valuable.

Let’s show the ROI. Let’s show the data. And so this journey of Sylvester has really flavored my approach to WS and to marketing, and it’s landing really well, right? Because customers are like, thank God. In the old days in marketing, we assumed that the client had all the answers, and they did all the digital, they did all the insights, they had all the assumptions, they had all the research. And right now in marketing, nobody has all the answers, so we’ve got to work way more like partners and be very much a business partner, not just an activity partner, if we want to be successful.

Jeremy Weisz 54:54 

Susan, I just want to be the first one to thank you. Thanks for sharing your journey and your stories and your lessons. Really fascinating. Everyone can check out simplyws.com to learn more. And if you are a vet, or maybe you take your cat to a vet, tell them about sylvester.ai and you can check that on their website as well. Susan, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Susan Groeneveld 55:21 

Oh, thank you. Appreciate it.