Posted tagged ‘grocio’

Grocio.com Wins $30,000. Now What?

November 22, 2008

Think of it as a local TechCrunch50. The Tulsa Spirit Awards were very similar – 100 startups enter and a handful win cash awards. Everyone’s business is better for the process. (Yes, my startup Grocio.com won top prize. More on that below.)

The main differences? No big on-stage dog and pony and it was put on here in Tulsa by Tulsans. Yes, you heard that right – Tulsa, Oklahoma! See! You shouldn’t be flying over next time. Stop and stay a while! I’ve said it many times before to Dave Winer and Robert Scoble… Native Tulsans have a mutated risk-taking gene and it’s a nod back to the day when people settled the Indian Territories (I’m native american btw) and started exploring for oil and building toll bridges across the Arkansas river. We’ve been taking “life and limb” sized risks since day one of this city. We’re entrepreneurs genetically.

Spirit Bank and the Kauffman Foundation were kind enough to put up prize money + resources galor. Maurice Kanbar was nice enough to put up office space. The Tulsa Metro Chamber, TEDC and many others have offered terrific resources as well along the way.

Leaders from all disciplines within the Tulsa community rallied behind our mayor and Sean Griffin (for the second time now) to fortify our business plans and impart their lessons and wisdom. Their leadership and commitment through this process was extraordinary. I said it before the awards, I’ve said it since will say it now and maintain it all along the circuit –

If you’re a startup, there is no better place in America to startup than right here in Tulsa. The resources are tremendous. The cost of living is spot on. The economy is positive and we’re upbeat about the immediate future. Plus our commutes (or lack of) will probably cinch it for you. Don’t just put us on a checklist to evaluate. Come visit. There are lots of us who would happily be your guide and show you around. What other city will do that for you!?

Grocio.com next moves?

Lot’s of people have asked, “Have you spent all that money yet?” In my mind I’ve spent it a couple times over. But, no, I haven’t spent any of it. There are a few modest obligations that I’m very grateful to have been able to postpone until some funding arrived. IOU’s in other words. So, those are first order of business. Outside of that we’re into the next phase of the business plan – hardcore development. We’re now on the path to get from prototype to production. That will burn through a bit of the award money and we’ll find ourselves at the next round of funding in short order.

“$30,000 or $60,000?” We’ve won $30,000. We’re in the process of earning a match from i2E. In January/February I’m expecting to have good news to announce along these lines. I have no reason to believe we won’t be awarded the matching funds.

The inevitable question, “Did you quit your day job?” NO WAY! and am making no plans of doing so. My employer has been really understanding the past several months and naturally curious about all the recent press and what my intentions were/are. If you’ve ever had a side business you know there are boundaries to respect. Don’t ever lose sight of that. Trust me, I know it’s hard. But, there’s a lot at stake and frankly… you have to keep in mind who’s paying the bills. To do otherwise says a fair bit about your character and how you might run your outside venture. Enthusiasm is great. Don’t let it make you a sloppy business leader. P’s & Q’s…

“Are you talking to VC?” Only every opportunity I get. If you’re looking to invest in a cool new startup with a bunch of new found street cred… Call me (918) 813-9745

“When does Grocio.com open for business?” We’re open now for FREE pre-registration. There’s even a screencast that shows some of what it is we’re going to unveil and how it’s going to work. The comparison shopping side of the operation opens in February ’09. November ’08 was my target. But, because we were so tight in on the holiday shopping period with a lot of work to be accomplished and with a lot on the line… we’ll waive off and fire up the engines in February ’09. Still, registration is free and those are the people who will be notified first once we’re on final approach.

“What grocery stores will you have? What’s the geography?” We have three really large branded grocers on board now. There’s not a grocer in America we’ll turn away. Just yesterday a north California chain came calling. I’ve talked to one store operations up to the largest there is. Talk us up to your local grocer and chum the water for us. OK?

The media has been a great friend through all of this. So, to answer the “Are you willing to talk with us on the record?” ABSOLUTELY. No segment, article or blog is off limits. Go to Grocio.com and all my contact info is there.

[EDIT: Recieved a few DM’s at Twitter asking for the behind the scenes of the Spirit Awards. Someting to address – What goes on behind closed doors? There’s my next writing assignment. Stay tuned.]

√ Vote for us at The Tulsey Awards

October 29, 2008

Would REALLY appreciate your support of Grocio as a nominatee in The First Annual Tulsey Awards. We have some terrific competition in the Interactive category. One of them is far and away more popular that Grocio and I see them doing very well. So, get the word out among your friends and family… we need help in getting the vote out. Need not be a local to vote by the way.

The Tulseys are a celebration of the Global Entrepreneurship Week and the winner in each category gets (what I hear to be) a slick trophy (no money at stake). I love Tulsa. And, more than that, I love the risk taking nature of the people here in my home town. You can go way back to the formative days of this town whether it’s the land speculators, the oilfield folks, the toll bridge across the Arkansas… People were really doing some cool stuff. Sticking their necks out and trying new, risky and life threatening things. Bless their souls.

Fortunately that DNA exists in spades in Oklahoma. And, I hope, is reflected in what we’re trying to do with Grocio. Thanks!

Win a $200 VISA Gift Card

September 11, 2008

Here’s how easy this is:

  • Register with Grocio.com (a new comparison shopping engine for groceries)
  • Sign up as many friends and family members as you can with the personal invitation code we send you as part of the confirmation of your registration.
  • Whoever has the most registrants under their belt by midnight 11/19/2008 wins.

Ready. Set. GO!

Pre-Registration Opens at Grocio.com

September 10, 2008

For those of you who haven’t heard, I launched a little startup today called “Grocio” (pronounced Grow-See-Oh). Registration is free!

We’re a comparison shopping engine for groceries. Starting with your zip code and shopping list, we’ll identify the least expensive local grocer. At the same time we MATCH coupons to the EXACT items you’re shopping for. So two things are happening here:

  • You’re saving a TON of money at the checkout counter by picking the right grocer.
  • You’re adding to the savings with coupons you didn’t spend an hour trying to find in the newspaper.

We’re in a local business plan competition (kind of like TechCrunch50) and could use all the registrants possible. If you like the concept, drop in and give us a vote of confidence by registering please.

Welcome to 2008

January 2, 2008

2008 will see a host of comings and goings – personally and professionally.

Personally, I’m getting back to the podcasting scene and committing to the frequency (unfortunately, not the quality) side of things. I want to listen to a lot of new stuff and pare down what I already subscribe to. I’ve finally found a way to eek out the best quality I can out of a stock Apple setup with an external iSight. So, there’s that to look forward to from me this year (ehem). The house remodelling is endless. Those of you who know me well, know this is my own personal Purgatory. I don’t know what I did in the previous life to draw a sentence in DIY mini-hell. But, I’m paying dearly for it. I may just be sick-o enough to admit I like it most of the time though (shh, don’t tell). Building a wood fence this weekend. Post-hole digging in the Oklahoma winter ground doesn’t sound like a smart plan to me… We’ll see.

Professionally, being the sole architect of your own thing is darned tough. The Lone Ranger had Tonto. Abbott had Costello. Lucy had Desi. Jobs had Wozniak. Gates had Allen. I’m realizing we’re missing a critical component to Grocio and it’s become a hindrance to progress. I need someone who is equally passionate about the startup (John, Faron, Dori… yes, you folks come to mind). So, I’m officially recruiting for a technologist/implementor. Right here, right now. The pay is non-existent (it is THAT kind of bootstrapped startup!), cash flow is coming and the technology platform is very hazy and very early. So, the right person will have their fingerprints all over something very cool with the potential of being big, big, big. This is an equity deal. That’s going to have to serve as my bozo filter. We’re going to be working our assess off to build something of value. You’ll see there’s a lot has already happened behind the scenes. A lot more needs to happen. You’ll also find an atmosphere that is not stifling. Challenging? To be sure. But, you’ll find your concepts and problem solving are arguably the most important facet of the business. After all, who am I to shut down brilliance!? 🙂 918 813-9745 will reach me (voice or sms) gerald at grocio dot com with get me too.

“Hiring” Technologist/Exec for Grocio.

January 2, 2008

My startup, Grocio, needs a brilliant technologist itching to create a business around their own cool code/architecture. Is this you? (Employee #2 if that means anything to you)

First, and probably most importantly, you must have pride of ownership (your fingerprints are going to be all over this);
You must be an implementor (not a visionary… a Get Things Done type is called for at this stage);
You must be a coder first and a SysAdmin second (not a .Net type… needing someone more of the XAMP sort. If Prototype and Scriptaculous are more than buzzwords to you… run, do not walk);
You must have scalable architecture chops (distributed computing or parrallel processing, MySQL replication and security);
Perfectionists need not apply as we will be learning lots of lessons and iterating quickly.

I definitely want to talk with you! email me at gerald at grocio dot com or phone/sms me (918) 813-9745 or ichat at geraldb28@mac.com. I’m twittering at geraldb28 and a bit of background is available at LinkedIn. Short of it is I’m an ambitious fellow looking to build a new business with other equally ambitious cool people (locally or remotely for the right people).

You may already have a nice paying gig right now. The person to fill this slot is going to be a cause driven individual as opposed to a cash driven one. A personable leader. The rewards of the job, for the immediate future, are going to be an equity position in the company and a perch on the ground floor of something lots of people will find a use for in their day to day lifestyle (provided we execute well and anticipate and correct for change appropriately). I’ll offer to be 1,000% honest with you the whole distance, a good listener, friend and mentor/student. Even though this isn’t a partnership you’ll be center stage making really cool things happen at what I hope will be the very early days of a fun and profitable ride.

I’m hoping the right person is one or two degrees away. Just give me a shout. No NDA’s required. And you can expect absolute discretion and full disclosure.