Garrett Gee turned a lucky guess into a business opportunity when the iPad 2 was about to come out. This university student guessed that once the iPad 2 came out, there soon would be a blog post somewhere listing the top 10 apps for the device. After recognizing there should be easier to use and less clunky QR code software and apps, he made it his mission to be the first one to offer such a product fit for the iPad 2.
He quickly got the iPad 2 into the hands of his iOS developer, and after spending two sleepless nights, he had accomplished his goal.
His guess about the blog post was also correct. Thanks to his hard work, he made it onto that list. He recruited two fellow classmates, and they launched Scan in February 2011. The team raised $1.5 million from venture capitalists, including Google Ventures, and in the first year Scan earned 10 million downloads.
The number of downloads grew quickly, reaching 21 million by October 2011. Gee's next move is said to be the development of a monetization plan.
In 2014, Snapchat acquired Scan, a company cofounded by Utah native Garrett Gee and two friends, for $54 million.
Scan's technology is the basis of Snapcode, the little black dots that populate Snapchat icons allowing users to scan and discover each other with their smartphone camera.
But Gee didn't use his Snapchat millions to fund the trip. Instead, the couple sold all of their belongings for about $45,000, agreeing to travel on that money for six months — until December 2015 — or as long they could last without dipping into savings.
Five months into their journey, the couple — who had begun documenting their travels as The Bucket List Family through blogging and social media — had spent all but $5,000 of their budget, Gee said. They'd managed to make the money last with lots of planning and frugal spending habits, like always buying the cheapest flights.
"Fortunately, about this same time, our social media began gaining enough traction that hotels, airlines, and other brands began working with us," Gee said. "At first they were just offering us accommodations or flights in exchange for marketing exposure through our social media. But then, as our community continued to grow, they began paying us as well. Right before we had spent through our initial $45,000, we turned the corner and became profitable."
"It is being safely saved and invested. I plan to live as if it doesn't exist and in a way, start over," Gee said. "I'm young and I want to keep my hard working entrepreneurial spirit alive and well! I don't want to get comfortable. I don't want to settle down. So for me, I'm starting back at zero and building my way up. Again."
As of January 2016, about 18 months after launching their brand, The Bucket List Family has 455,000 followers on Instagram and 41,500 YouTube subscribers. He and Jessica both spend about 20 hours a week managing the blog, social media channels, and partnerships.