Growth Story: Bo Starr of Grifin
Welcome to our Growth Story series, where you’ll meet startup team members—either natives, boomerangs or transplants—in Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Bo Starr, Co-Founder and COO of Grifin, a patent-pending technology that lets you automatically buy stock where you shop.
Where are you from?
I guess that makes me a transplant, but my extended family on both sides has always lived in Tampa. So I would visit pretty close to once a month for the majority of my life.
Tell us more about your role at Grifin. What does a day in the life look like?
As COO, I work with everybody on our team to ensure they have the tools they need to achieve success. I work heavily with just about everything that our business does. Right now I’m mostly working on marketing analytics, SEC compliance, product management, design, and financial projections.
How did you get your career started and what challenges did you face along the way?
My dad helped me make my first investment when I was 13, so it’s always been a huge part of my life. When I got to college, I looked around and realized that most people my age actually have no idea how to invest or what the stock market really is. I was kind of surprised by that because I was surrounded by really smart people that are going to go on to be doctors and lawyers and engineers, but they’re going to graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt. So right around my 21st birthday, I realized I’m in a unique position to do something about it. I decided to create an app that in some way helps people gain the confidence to invest. Early on, it was tough to hold my own in conversations with “adults.” Up until that point in my life they had always been authority figures in some way, typically as parents or teachers. When I realized that I actually know more about my specific domain than most adults, business got a lot easier.
How has this region shaped your career or startup journey?
Grifin moved to Tampa in late February of this year. Since coming here we’ve grown significantly as a team and as individuals. The area is full of smart people that have pushed us further. The biggest problem is finding the right people at the right time! That one problem is why organizations like Embarc are so helpful. Any time we’re facing a challenge that we need to solve, we know that somebody on the Embarc team can point us in the right direction.
What tactical advice can you share from building your startup or career?
Consistent, incremental improvements lead to transformational change. In order to take massive leaps forward, you have to take small steps every day. It’s often very hard to see the changes happen in real time, but when you look back six months you’ll see just how far you’ve come. Improving 1% per week for a year leads to nearly double the results! This applies both to life and investing. :slightly_smiling_face:
Where do you see Tampa Bay next? How do you play a role in this future?
The Tampa Bay area is full of beaches, sports, and smart people. There’s not much more that I look for in a region! I expect Grifin to be here for the foreseeable future, both hiring local people and relocating new employees to the area. It would be cool to have our name one of the office buildings downtown, right next to Regions and Suntrust.