Garrett Gee: Mormon Entrepreneur
Garrett Gee stepped into life as a technology entrepreneur unexpectedly after he received a smartphone in 2009 and didn’t like an app that scanned and read UPC barcodes used to purchase retail products. When he found it inferior for his needs, he deleted it and tried to find a replacement. When he couldn’t, he considered designing one himself. He was a Brigham Young University student at the time, and he spent the next six months developing a user-friendly scanning application with the help of two classmates, Ben Turley and Kirk Ouimet. When the app was completed, they made it available free on iTunes, and it was downloaded so fast it knocked “Angry Birds” off the App Store top 10 chart.
Gee, Ouimet, and Turley formed Scan, Inc., in January 2011, with Gee as CEO, Ouimet as COO, and Turley as CTO. They raised more than $8 million in investor funding over two years’ time and upgraded the app with features that responded to consumer requests. They charged $2 per app download and it became the number 1 app in its category worldwide. By the end of 2012, Scan had been downloaded 25 million times and averaged 27 million scans per month and generating $60,000 per month.
Gee, Turley, and Ouimet were invited to show their app on the TV show “Shark Tank” but did not partner with any of the show’s entrepreneurs. In December 2014, they sold the company Scan, Inc. to Snapchat for $54 million, making significant returns for both creators and investors.
Gee is inclined to tuck the money away, invest it, and let it provide for his family for many years. He has had multiple job offers from prominent companies based on the success of this first app. He plans to continue a technology development career path, but is taking time off to travel with his wife, Jessica, and their three children. Their itinerary includes New Zealand, Tonga, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. He said their trip is funded by selling all their belongings and not by dipping into their savings. Gee finished playing soccer for BYU in July 2015. He does not plan on continuing his college education; however, he is developing another app.
He created a YouTube page, The Bucket List Family, which has over 372,000 subscribers. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.