By Dan Devries | Colgate’s Thought Into Action (TIA) Institute
A fledgling idea, born during an airport layover and cultivated with the help of Colgate’s Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Incubator, landed a recent alumnus on the two-hour season premiere of ABC’s Shark Tank.
Investors on the season nine premiere that aired October 1 pulled no punches in their criticism of the app, but Diew says he took their advice to heart, and he has been hard at work making Trippie the best airport navigation tool available on the Apple Store.
“I really have taken heed of a lot of their advice,” said Diew. “I think that I let my emotions get the best of me toward the end. I am really passionate about this, and I broke down, and that’s something I’ve learned from. I’ll never do that again.”
Trippie has expanded from four to 16 airports since the Shark Tank episode was filmed in June, and it now covers locations that account for 82 percent of all U.S. domestic air travel.
Despite being chewed to pieces by the “sharks,” Diew said that in the hours after the episode aired, Trippie was downloaded nearly 12,000 times before the web server he rented to keep up with demand crashed from the traffic. Even with technical problems, Trippie ranked 21st in travel on the App store on Monday, Oct. 2, and Diew expects his Android version to launch later this week.
“This was the chance of a lifetime, and I don’t regret any of it. The progress that we’ve made since my pitch has been amazing,” Diew said. “We’ve expanded and added functionality, making the app better. I’ll just continue to keep pushing.”
Colgate Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Career Initiatives Michael Sciola said he admired Diew’s willingness to put himself in front of an audience of millions in pursuit of his entrepreneurial dream.
“At Colgate, we teach our students that it is impossible to win a game if you are afraid to take a shot,” Sciola said. “I admire that Ryan took the chance to move his business forward and know that he will use this as a learning experience. I cannot wait to see what happens next!”
Thought Into Action Alumni Executive Director Wills Hapworth ’07 said he’s been impressed with Diew’s grit and resilience. “His response to Shark Tank and Mark Cuban’s tough questions was to double down on product development and growth so he would be prepared for the bump he expected after the episode’s airing. He was laser focused over the past few months. That is the heart of a true entrepreneur. I know these are traits that have served him well in the classroom and on the basketball court, and now hopefully in business as well. It will be one of the marks of his life going forward. We are proud of Ryan.”