Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs are Anatoliy Melnichuk, Michele Romanow and Ryan Marien, whose company, Buytopia, has become Canada’s leading daily deal site with over two million subscribers. What was the inspiration behind the idea? Find out in today’s profile…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
Buytopia is Canada’s leading daily deal site. We have saved 2 million subscribers over $100 million in two years on spas, restaurants, activities, events and products. Buytopia provides its merchants with a compelling value proposition by helping them acquire customers at a much lower cost compared to other alternatives. Our merchant base includes over 50 national brands such as Staples, Sears, Netflix and Cirque du Soleil. We are also the incubator for two other companies, Cleverfox and SnapSaves.
Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
The three of us met during undergrad engineering at Queen’s, so we’ve been working together for a while. We started our first venture in 2008, a caviar company, immediately after graduation. We literally ran a vertically integrated fishery and were selling premium caviar to top hotels and restaurants. Nothing scares us.
While working as Director of Strategy at Sears, Michele realized the power of performance-based advertising and that’s when Buytopia was born.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Working with your closest friends. And…working with your closest friends.
But seriously, we love our team. We have a work-hard-play-hard attitude and that’s the core of Buytopia’s culture. Last year, we took our team to a ranch to learn polo, which involved nine people riding a horse for the first time!
Where do you see your business going in five years?
Having 10 million subscribers across multiple verticals including local, travel, products and events.
What does success look like to you?
Waking up and going to work with a team that you love. Now that’s living the dream!
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Taking $45,000 of our personal savings to start Buytopia and reaching $1 million in sales five months later.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Your 20s are for taking risks. Make sure you throw a couple of darts.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
We support charities by partnering up with local clients. We get to give back by working with our merchants on meaningful projects. Recently, we teamed up with one of our merchants – Fit Factory Fitness – for the Toronto Fitness Challenge, a fundraising event aimed at generating awareness for SickKids Hospital.
What is Notable to you?
Building great relationships with everyone – our customers, merchants, suppliers and employees. You never get a second chance to rebuild your reputation.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
All of them! Each of us use a different phone.
How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
We cook together. Ryan knows everything about wine and we can all cook a pretty mean steak. We’ve brainstormed hundreds of ideas over a good bottle of red.
Photo courtesy Brian Mosoff