For my leadership series, I had the amazing opportunity to sit down and interview:
Michalis Vitalis, Founder & CEO, Most Valuable Paws Limited
Michalis has worked for the world’s leading Aviation IT companies in senior management roles. He is an animal lover and he loves finding solutions to problems with the help of technology.
Most Valuable Paws is digitizing pet data in order to make everything easier for the owners, animals, vets, our society, and organizations. MVPaws platform aims to improve our lives with animals and also connect the dots in the pet-related services portfolio.
At a time of great uncertainty for many industries and, indeed, the world itself, Web Summit gathers the founders and CEOs of technology companies, fast-growing startups, policymakers, and heads of state to ask a simple question: Where to next?
Politico has said we run “the world’s premier tech conference”, the Atlantic that Web Summit is “where the future goes to be born”, and the New York Times that we assemble “a grand conclave of the tech industry’s high priests.”
Web Summit also hosts events across the world: Web Summit in Tokyo, Collision in Toronto, and RISE in Hong Kong.
Would you mind providing a brief introduction to yourself and your role within MVPaws? What brought you to this specific career path?
Back in 2015, during a personal mental health resolution, I decided to get a dog. Since my life is directly connected with travel, I realized a massive problem for passengers who travel with an animal. Being in the aviation industry for the past 18 years, I started mapping the problem and decoding every aspect to create a solution.
Since that day, I have continued to work on improving our lives while having a pet. I founded Most Valuable Paws Limited, a start-up in London, and planned to connect all the dots around pet digitization.
My goal is to shape the way we live with animals for the years to come. Living with our furry friends is the best experience, and there are so many things we always learn from them. Moving to the next era, there are many benefits to digitizing animals for the owners, society, organizations, animals, and governments.
What is your blueprint to success? Can you share an example of how you have implemented this into your work at MVPaws?
I strongly feel that a critical aspect of our personal and professional success is to be open to learning new things, planning the next steps, and having faith. I analyze everything in life to make things simpler. By doing so, I can decode the value that my solutions will bring to the problem. For me, there is always a value proposition behind what I build and design.
In MVPaws, we have created a platform that helps airlines save money and costs and enhance the passenger experience. We apply the same thinking in our holistic approach of MVPaws and how our portfolio of services will improve our daily lives with our pets. We create solutions to problems around the pet portfolio by bringing value and being able to demonstrate it.
What is/are your life philosophies? Are there any social causes that you are particularly passionate about?
Believe in your dreams and have a strong vision because anything is possible. Work hard and put in all your efforts because luck is when hard work meets opportunity. Respect everything and everyone in life.
I devote time to helping stray animals, and I commit myself to contribute part of my income to organizations worldwide that help animals and our environment. Part of our corporate responsibility in MVPaws is to provide our platform and technology free for life for any NGO and shelter organization that helps animals.
Are you working on any exciting new projects right now?
We are currently working on the initial round of our seed investment, and in parallel, we are finalizing the native application for mobile devices. We have kept our heads down and worked throughout the past five years, and we are super excited to launch our platform and services globally this year. Through WebSummit, we also received so much positive feedback from people that shows us we are on the correct path of connecting the dots.
What are your “3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- “Professional success and personal fulfillment come when you do the things you love.” A couple of years back, I worked in large corporate environments, played the corporate game, and did jobs that I was very good at. At that time, a successful career meant titles and money. Although I love aviation, something was missing. I felt that I had more to give, and I wanted to be part of something that would make a positive impact and trigger a change in our world. Working on MVPaws for many years and being part of such a fantastic movement has had a tremendous effect on my path to success. Day in and day out, I’m passionate and excited to find more ways to make our platform even more remarkable and significant for everyone.
- “Everything happens for a reason & we should never lose faith.” As an adult, I have changed many industries (Banking, Telecoms, Aviation, Piloting planes, and Technology). I was trying to connect my dots for every decision-making process, but the dots didn’t make sense back then. Now, I understand that the need for change was because I wasn’t satisfied with just a good salary or a senior title. I needed fulfillment on a personal level. I needed to create change. And whenever things got turbulent, I recalled my time in flight school (among my Business degrees, I also have Commercial Pilot training & license). My instructor taught me that when the plane goes through a storm, the safest way is to fly through the storm to escape to clear skies safely. So during the ups and downs in life, I’ve kept my faith and realized that every challenging situation is to improve me and prepare me for what the future holds.
- “Dream big and don’t limit yourself in your comfort zone.” Throughout our lives, many of us have settled in comfort zones. We work hard to get a good job, earn a good life, and fall into the same behavioral patterns. I like to dream big, experience change, question, and be curious. So every moment that I was skeptical about my future, I was actually trying to get back into my comfort zone. I am glad that I never settled there and continue to dream big and go after the things I love.
Do you have a life hack that’s always come in handy?
My life hack is taking time for myself, being curious and brave enough to question things. An early morning start and the company of animals will always charge your batteries and heal your wounds. Believe in the change that we can bring to the world, and don’t lose faith.
What do you want the readers to know (any calls to action)?
As we prepare to launch our services globally, I would like readers to join our journey. Share feedback with us, share your thoughts, and register your pets in the www.mvpaws.com platform. Moreover, if you know or hear of a shelter or NGO that takes care of animals, share it with us to offer our services for free.