CEO Ryan Cohen didn’t start his online pet food retailer Chewy in a popular e-commerce market like New York, Seattle, Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Nor did he seek publicity around the more than $200 million in venture capital that his Florida-based startup had secured.
Instead, he focused on building the loyalest customer base of pet owners online with a recipe of hard-to-beat customer service, speedy and affordable shipping, and a giant selection of pet food and supplies that rivals any other catalogue online.
The result: A sale to PetSmart earlier this year that valued his company at around $3.35 billion — the largest-ever acquisition of a U.S. e-commerce business.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.