As a young college student and traveling basketball player, Ryan Diew spent a lot of time in airports. While waiting for connecting flights and wandering the airport terminal searching for a decent place to eat, Ryan came up with the idea for an app that travelers could use to connect with one another and map out locations in the airport. He created and launched Trippie before he even graduated and began to refine and grow the app with his brother. In the early stages of development and expansion, Ryan took Trippie to the Shark Tank to see if he could get a financial boost and some support from one of the successful entrepreneurs on the panel.
Trippie on Shark Tank
Shark Tank Season 9 Episode 2
After one final hug from his mother, Ryan entered the Shark Tank and told the panel that Trippie was destined to be the go-to app for navigating large airports and connecting with fellow weary travelers. He was asking for $100,000 in exchange for 10% equity in Trippie.
Ryan told the Sharks that as a college student from Oakland, who was also a student-athlete, he felt there were times he was always at an airport. Spending hours in an airport terminal can be a frustrating experience, especially for frequent travelers like him and professionals who frequently travel for business.
Deciding to show Sharks his experience instead of merely telling them, Ryan picked up his bags. He explained that when heading down the terminal, the directories were never where he needed them, so he would wander throughout the airport searching for something that may not even be there.
Picking up a soggy tuna sandwich, Ryan said he typically would wind up hanging around the newsstand nearest to his gate. He said with the Trippie; he would never have to settle for whatever the closest shop had to offer, tossing the tuna sandwich to the garbage can on stage. Instead of that soggy tuna sandwich, he could easily find a big, tasty burrito. He took a big bite of the burrito he had stashed behind a stage plant.
Ryan began to show the Sharks how Trippie worked on a big screen monitor. A list of airports included “Shark Tank International.” Clicking on the airport revealed a list of restaurants, including “Shark Tank Diner.” When you click on the restaurant, Trippie showed the gate location of the restaurant, how far he was from it, and the restaurant’s hours of operation. A map indicated the user’s location with a blue dot and guided them to their destination.
Ryan declared that Trippie would eliminate most of the stresses associated with the experience, and asked the Sharks to help him get Trippie to the millions of regular travelers worldwide.
Robert asked how many airports had been added to the app. Ryan said that he currently had four airports – San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, and Toronto – and that he was in the process of adding five more.
Barbara commented that restaurants are always changing locations, prices, and menu items, especially in airports. She wanted to know how Ryan added and updated the information on Trippie. Currently, Ryan said that all data is manually inputted with descriptions of the restaurant’s menu items, such as what kind of cuisine or beers an establishment sold.
Getting Down to the Numbers
After graduation just a few weeks before the taping, Ryan said that he had turned down a handful of job opportunities from large companies like Google and Facebook to work on Trippie full time. He said he thinks about it constantly. Mark asked if he still lived with his parents, and Ryan admitted that he did.
Ryan did all the coding and IOS development work for Trippie. Since he first uploaded the app, there have been 850 downloads and around 160 active users a month. Ryan admitted that there were other apps out there that did essentially the same thing as Trippie, but Robert told him not to worry about competitors; he wanted to hear why Trippie was better than other apps on the market.
The main goal of Trippie was to connect travelers at the airport. Ryan hoped Trippie would become the Waze of the indoors. He envisioned travelers telling each other how long the TSA line was as they approached. Lori thought that was a good idea, but was not included in Ryan’s presentation.
Ryan used the Google Maps API to track traveler’s movement throughout an airport. The difference was that Trippie would create a community of travelers who could communicate and trade information about the airport experience.
Barbara wanted to know what Ryan would do with investment money he was hoping to get from one of the Sharks. Ryan said his top priority at this point was to be able to load peoples’ itineraries into the app. In the weeks since graduation, he boasted that monthly users had increased 40%, but when he revealed it was only 179 users, Mark commented that at that volume, the increase was insignificant.
Robert wondered why Ryan had not found a way to plug into the backend of airports. Ryan said he had not reached out to airports to try to get directly connected with them.
Lori thought the idea of becoming the Waze of airport terminals was a solid plan and that Ryan should focus on the functionality of posting security line waiting time. She said that she would have liked to have seen that some of the additional functions were already in the works and backed out. Ryan seemed insulted, whining that he did not have a rich uncle or friends who could invest in Trippie. Robert did not take kindly to that and reprimanded the young businessman, telling him that he was an immigrant and that his mother was a receptionist. Ryan needed to buck up, be more innovative, and realize the situation he was in. Robert told Ryan he needed to create value for Trippie and also went out, Rohan followed.
Having three Sharks bow out left Ryan visibly upset. Barbara told him she thought Trippie was a good idea, but that it was not quite a business at this point and that it was a bit early to be asking for an investment. She also bowed out.
Mark felt that Trippie was more a feature than an actual marketable product. He told Ryan that he understood how hard it was to start a business like this and that the hardest thing was learning to look at his situation realistically. Mark wished Ryan the best of luck but said he was also out.
Ryan was crestfallen, saying that he had put his blood, sweat, and tears into this project. Mark told Ryan to stop congratulating himself. All of the Sharks on the panel had worked long and hard to achieve their success. Mark told Ryan he simply needed to work hard to prove himself and the value of his business.
Where is He Now? Trippie After Shark Tank
Walking away from Shark Tank without a deal may have gotten Ryan down, but he has not given up. Since his appearance, Trippie has seen several updates, including the addition of 18 airports and expanding to international hubs in Frankfurt, Sydney, and Tokyo.
Trippie can now search for airport restaurants by category and by the airport. A restaurant rating system has also been added to the app as a feature to connect travelers.
While Ryan came away with nothing from his dive into the Shark Tank, he won the “Tech Done Right” $10,000 pitch competition and was featured in a list of the top influential African-Americans in tech.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is strictly informational; INSIGNIA SEO is not affiliated with Trippie, SharkTank, or any of its subsidiaries.