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Location: New York, NY
Founded: 2010
Industry: Retail and e-commerce


Michael Lackman


“PetFlow is your neighborhood pet store, online,” says CEO Michael Lackman. “In contrast to the typical e-commerce model, which plays strictly to the savings and convenience of free shipping, PetFlow challenges itself to create a personal connection between its team and its customers.” The company relies heavily on customer loyalty, with two thirds of its revenue coming from subscriptions. To support this model, PetFlow provides more than 10,000 different items for customers to choose from, and makes it easy to adjust the frequency of subscription deliveries.

Quick Tip: “The job of a leader is to buffer the existential stress of the business away from the rest of the team so that teammates can focus on their piece of the pie.”

One challenge for PetFlow are the tight profit margins that come with shipping heavy pet food, “As the business has grown, and frankly as more competition has come into the space, it has become very clear to us that Amazon is going to be the only winner when it comes to being a place that can put heavy stuff in a box and ship it to you,” says Lackman. “For us, we look at what the neighborhood pet store does, what specialty retail does, and we want to do it as well or better than they do. That means having a personal face on the site. That means being a source of credible advice. That means being a personality as a retail brand with which customers can empathize.”