• Jered

I grew out my beard until I could launch my bootstrapped startup

Faceoff: Beard Edition

So I had this problem. A problem that I think most of us can relate to.

I'm hungry, what am I going to eat, and who am I going to eat with?

I know there's a Subway, a Mcdonald's, a salad bar, and a hummus spot, all within 5 minutes walking distance, great, I have options.... But finding someone else that is also hungry, nearby, and wants to eat the same thing as me, that's a bit more complicated.

While studying at Tel Aviv University, I would spend the last 15 minutes of class texting my friends on campus to see if they were hungry and also trying to eat during their lunch break.

More often than not, I would continue messaging friends until I gave up and went to eat alone, only to receive a "yes" right as I finished eating.

There's always a yes, it's just a matter of reaching the right person, at the right time.

Turns out, when I joined the working world after University, I still had the same problem, and still got the same responses:

"Not Hungry" "Just Ate" "I'm vegetarian" "I'll be hungry later" "I'm an hour away", "No, but did I tell you that I broke up with..."

So in May 2015, after waiting long enough for a solution, I decided to go ahead and do it myself.

Keep in mind that at the time, Tinder had just completely changed the dating game, and I wanted to do the same for social dining.

Living in the startup nation, I was aware of the common pitfalls most Startups and Entrepreneurs fall into and since this was my first startup, I didn't want to make the same mistakes. Specifically, pitching an idea with a beautiful deck and nothing built, raising a ton of money, and then burning through it without accomplishing anything.

Instead, I wanted to build something myself first, prove it worked, and only then raise capital. This was reinforced by my "Lone Soldier Mentality" and then again after reading “The Lean Startup”, which encouraged a lean bootstrapped methodology.

I decided that not only was I going forward with this, I would also grow out my beard until the app was ready.

Since the app didn't yet have a physical form (like Voldemort), the beard would act as a measurement of time, showing how long I've been committed to the idea. It would also act as a blocker, a shield, a warning: to stay away. For all people alike: friends, family, girlfriends, beggars, you name it. In Hebrew its called the “Zakan Al Ti Gi Bi”, which translates to “ The Don't Touch Me Beard”.

At the end of the day, it's a physical motivator to keep working so I could get closer to shaving.

I never expected that three years later I would still be growing it! So why is my face still so hairy?

Like I said, I was doing this bootstrapped and lean, which means completely self-funded, no outside financing. This method requires time and patience. A lot of patience.

Naturally, the song "$ave Dat Money", from fellow tribe member Lil' Dicky, became the Tryna Grub mantra and theme song.

After much trial and error, the second version of Tryna Grub began in June 2016, when I met Daniel (pictured below). We threw all the old code out, got rid of more than 70% of the features, and started to build a new fully native app. This version was going to be a true M.V.P. (Minimal Viable Product), and would only have the most basic functionality of the Tryna Grub vision.

Fast forward to today. We completed the HIP Boost Accelerator Program from the Heseg Foundation, we were recipients of the Microsoft Bizspark "Scholarship", have a growing social media presence, participated in the ISTC Q.A. competition, and are now expanding our public beta.

Tryna Grub for iOS has been on the App Store for over a year! Since then, we have made numerous visual improvements, upgrades, and added new features. We learned the hard way, that when it comes to social apps, you need both sides of the equation, so we started building for Android. Tryna Grub for Android app just went into "open beta" on the Play Store, and we are working diligently on getting it up to par with its iOS counterpart.

Meanwhile the beard is long, too long. The current beard trend started around the time I started growing mine, but I wasn't growing it as a fashion statement. So on principle, I kept it messy, unshaped, and all over the place. I learned a lot about how people who didn't know me would react upon first meeting me, I also learned a lot about myself in the process.

Now that both apps are listed, it's time to -FINALLY- trim the beard and move to the next step.

In celebration of this milestone, we are having a "Mini-Launch Party" this Thursday Night, May 10th, in Tel Aviv. (Disclaimer: It's also my 30th B-day, so we are celebrating that too!)

Party Details: Starting at 19:30 at "Fifty" on King George 50, Tel Aviv.

We will be giving out invite codes and shots to new users!

Looking forward to seeing current and future Tryna Grub users at the party!

Part 2 coming soon

Below you can see the progress of the app compared to the progress of the beard!

May 2015 Tryna Grub Mockup

May 2015 Beard Status

December 2016 Tryna Grub Prototype (featuring Daniel)

December 2016 Beard Status

May 2018 Tryna Grub App (Featuring Daniel)

May 2018 Beard Status (featuring Daniel)


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