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Chewy; Volition Capital

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Ryan Cohen kept Chewy under the radar until it sold for more than $3 billion

Cohen is No. 33 on the Recode 100.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

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.

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