When Adam Greenbaum Googled the best local veterinary hospital for his two rescue Boston terriers in 2015, he found a whole lot of broken links.

That was the catalyst for spending 10 months building the infrastructure of WhiskerCloud, an agency that builds, hosts and manages veterinary websites. In June 2016, WhiskerCloud went live.

Six years later, in January 2022, Greenbaum sold the agency in a low 8-figure deal to Petdesk, which provides similar website and app services for veterinarians.

“The best part of this story is that it was a bootstrapped venture, and I did it with almost no marketing budget,” the sole founder said.

The origins of WhiskerCloud with Boston terrier rescue

The story of Greenbaum’s passion for pets — and website building — started years before WhiskerCloud in his hometown of Las Vegas. Greenbaum launched a Boston terrier rescue and, with a background in digital marketing, built a website for it, he recounted in a blog post.

The site immediately began to grow, and Greenbaum started working with veterinarians around the world to help Boston terriers in need.

“The seed was planted,” he wrote. “I spent the next seven years learning everything about responsive web design, analytics, automation, social media and advertising and became obsessed with being certified in all of it.”

In 2015, he launched Greenbaum Digital, an agency that specialized in digital advertising, content promotion and website design.

But Greenbaum quickly realized there was a missing piece: animals. This realization — combined with that disappointing Google search — led him to niche down and “help veterinary medicine with their technology problem,” he wrote.

On June 1, 2016, Built in Colorado published an article about Greenbaum and his new agency, WhiskerCloud. Within 24 hours, big veterinary medicine companies were reaching out.

How WhiskerCloud grew to serve 2,000+ veterinary clients

WhiskerCloud helped veterinary clients create custom websites, which were hosted on the WhiskerCloud platform. The team would then manage the site, handling any updates, writing blog posts and more.

The agency also offered PPC advertising, social marketing and reputation management.

A version of WhiskerCloud, archived in December 2021 before the sale, explained the pricing model. Clients paid a one-time setup fee, then a monthly cost. Packages ranged from $199 to $399 a month. Each package included free logo design and a branding package.

“This has just been a story of hustling hard,” Greenbaum told us. “Everything we did was more about effort than money.”

In addition to good, old-fashioned hard work — he shared he worked 100-hour weeks — Greenbaum attributes the bootstrapped agency’s growth to its influencer partnerships. Early on, he became tight with two of the industry’s top influencers.

“Both owned and ran huge Facebook groups filled with thousands of people who were my target audience,” he explained. “By working with them and producing content together, I had their biggest fans falling in love with my company.”

He also featured influencers in WhiskerCloud’s content with custom graphics and posts. The influencers would then share this content.

By 2022, the WhiskerCloud team had grown to 25 employees who worked with 2,000 customers worldwide. Greenbaum said they were on pace to add another 700 customers in 2023. The company also showed a strong revenue growth rate, having added $1 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) in 2021.

Selling WhiskerCloud: “I wanted to de-risk my life”

Greenbaum said he never actually had to look for a buyer. Once WhiskerCloud crossed $2 million in ARR, he received multiple emails from venture capitalists each day.

“The market was extremely hot, and I wanted to de-risk my life,” he told us. “I wanted to know that six years of work were going to be for something.”

Greenbaum was close friends with one of the co-founders of PetDesk. Plus, the two companies had worked on marketing initiatives together.

PetDesk bills itself as an “all-in-one patient journey bundle.” Similar to WhiskerCloud, it builds custom websites and specializes in digital marketing for veterinary clinics. Additional features include an online booking platform, mobile app, automated appointment reminders and more.

Greenbaum said he had been in talks with a few companies, but he was sold on PetDesk when he heard about its roll-up plan. PetDesk wanted to roll-up several brands in the space to create Petvisor, a suite of technologies for pet care providers.

“It was a natural fit for the envisioned roll-up, and I trusted them to help us get the biggest exit,” Greenbaum said. “Once I saw the vision, I was all in.”

Greenbaum cited a seven-month due diligence process as one of the biggest challenges of the sale.

“It was mental hell and happened over the holidays, so it dragged on for a while,” he said. “Creating and sharing the 400 reports that were requested… It wasn’t hard work, but it just took endless time to put everything together. I had to do that while running the company as the only C-level exec.”

That’s why Greenbaum’s biggest piece of advice for founders is to start gathering data — now.

“If you don’t know your CAC, growth rate or EBITDA, you need to start getting that information and keep it handy. Have a good accountant or bookkeeper that keeps things in line for you. I did that early on, and it was worth every penny.”

The sale closed in January 2022. It was half cash — mid-7 figures — and half equity, landing the deal in low 8-figure territory, with a 3x revenue multiple.

“We got there in the end,” Greenbaum said. “As I look at the market now, I’m glad I sold when I did.”

Since the acquisition, Greenbaum stayed on as WhiskerCloud’s CEO. He also took over as the global chief marketing officer of the holding company, which is 370-people strong.