Have you ever had an idea for an app that you know people would love … if only you could create it? There are a lot of obstacles to creating an app if you don’t know how to make it yourself, so many of these great ideas languish unrealized or another person (who does know how to code) makes a similar app and then it’s too late to create your dream startup.
Jeremy Wescott found himself in this exact position recently; he had a terrific idea, but he didn’t have the resources or the technical skills to just build it right away. He didn’t let the idea go, though. Instead, he founded Flavor, found the right business partner, and started methodically working through the steps to make his vision a reality.
Jeremy wasn’t thinking about building an app or starting a business when he had the idea for Flavor. He was just trying to set up dinner with a couple of friends.
I used to love picking restaurants. The first time I remember having a decision of my own was on my birthday, and my dad said, “Okay, you get to choose what to eat for your birthday dinner.” I still remember that experience, and I’d get really excited every year because it was fun to make that choice.
But then as I got older, it wasn’t so much fun anymore: there are so many options, and some people have dietary restrictions, and it’s so hard to decide. One day I was sitting with some friends and we were going back and forth on places, and no one wanted to choose. I said, “There needs to be a thing where you just push a button and it chooses for you.” And everyone else was like, “Yeah, that’d be genius—that’d be great.” And I just ran with the idea from there.
Flavor is an app that will select restaurants for you based on the dietary needs (including allergies and calorie counts) and taste preferences of each person in your group.
Building a business
Coincidentally, Jeremy had spent some time listening to a podcast called “How I Built This” a couple of months before he had the idea for Flavor. A lot of the speakers on this podcast were successful startup founders, and they described the process of building their business in detail.
This podcast ended up having a significant impact on his life because it showed him it was possible to build a startup even if you don’t have a lot of resources, and it also gave him a pretty good idea of what he needed to do.
One of the first things he did was secure his traction in the market by filing patents. He also started writing a business plan and exploring funding methods. About this time, he also pulled in his business partner, Corey.
Forging a partnership
Jeremy’s business partner, Corey, is also a long-time friend. They met as co-workers ten years ago and stayed in touch ever since.
Corey started work on Flavor when Jeremy asked him to review some written content, and stuck around because they’re both passionate about the idea and they work well together. As partners, Corey handles the writing and some of the technical work, while Jeremy does a lot of the planning, business development, and design.
Their personalities and workstyles also complement each other. Jeremy says “Corey keeps me motivated so I don’t get overwhelmed with the work involved. He keeps me on track and moving along.” On the other hand, Corey said he never imagined that he’d find himself building a business from the ground up, but Jeremy’s vision and energy hooked him: “I just feel like the idea is too good not to do it. There isn’t an app or service out there that does this, and it would be amazing to create it and see people use it.”
Building a business takes a lot of highly-skilled work. With Flavor, Jeremy knew he needed to create a website and a mobile app, do extensive research, and build relationships with local restaurants. He also knew that he and Corey couldn’t do it all alone—especially if they both continued working full-time at their day jobs.
As a result, Jeremy always knew that he was going to need to raise significant capital in order to build the team that would make his vision a reality. He was initially planning to do a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to get working capital, but after doing some research he learned that it’s nearly impossible to get the amount of funding he needs via rewards-based crowdfunding.
That was a big disappointment and a little bit of a setback, but Jeremy quickly developed a new strategy. Now, he’s prepping his pitch deck and starting to talk with local investors.
Jeremy says that with Flavor, his greatest achievement—the thing he’s most proud of—is taking the initiative to get started. It would have been easy to come up with the idea and forget about it, but instead, he committed to putting in the work to make it happen.
Now, his goal is to launch Flavor in Boston later this year, in New York shortly after that … and from there, who knows? The possibilities are endless.