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Client Success Stories – Smoov

Interview with Tucker Cohen, Founder of Smoov

Tell Us About Your Journey

I actually started working when I was 14 years old. I got job in a kitchen. Pretty sure it was illegal for me to work in a kitchen at that age, but nevertheless, I ended up working in kitchens for about eight years. And that taught me a lot about what I didn’t want to do with my life; do something for someone else. Meaning, like, report to a boss and have this sort of like bureaucratic structure. Not for nothing, it’s very important to have good teams, but I like to be in control of my own destiny. So even at that young age, I started doing things like mowing people’s lawns, shoveling their driveways, whatever I could to make money by myself, for myself.

I always sort of had this entrepreneurial spark. I always knew I wanted to start my own company. I had a blog in college before there was a blogging business model. I went on to start a direct-to-consumer, organic hair product company. It sort of fizzled out over time, but it was a good experience. And now Smoov is my third venture as a founder.

What is the History of Smoov?

The history of Smoov, the app was born out of necessity.

In March of 2021, my now wife and I, we were away in Spain for a month, where she’s from, visiting her family and friends, traveling around, and that’s the trip we got engaged on. And then when we came back to the States, we’re sitting on our couch opening Excel, looking at our different bank statements. We’re putting together this massive Excel spreadsheet. And meanwhile, all of our friends from home are trying to hang out with us. They’re trying to celebrate with us because obviously we just got engaged. They want to celebrate our love.

And it dawned on me, this is one of the highest highs of life, one of the most exciting things that can happen, you get engaged. And then followed by a really annoying low of being an adult doing math, which everyone hates. I figured, okay, there’s got to be an app for this. I’ll just find it. And there wasn’t. My next thought was, well, maybe it’s just not possible to build something like this. Something that would integrate with all of our cards, something that would automatically do math for us, and something that would allow us to settle up directly from one to the other.

And then I started researching trends around married couples with only shared bank accounts and married couples with no shared bank accounts at all. And that was when the light bulb went off for me, because there’s a massive decline from Baby Boomers to Millennials, something like 50% difference, and it’s pretty clear that Gen Z is going to continue that trend.

What Are Some Inspirations That Motivate You?

Some of the inspirations that motivate me, I would say the first that comes to mind is just family. Making my family proud, not only my elders but also my kids, when they join us. I come from a long history of entrepreneurship in my family, whether it’s my direct grandfather starting his own real estate business or my great-grandfather starting a car dealership. There’s always been this sort of entrepreneurial spark in my family.

In terms of an entrepreneur that I really look up to or admire, and find inspiration from, I would have to say it’s a little outside of the tech ecosystem, but Jake Burton is one of my favorite founders and entrepreneurs. Because it’s something to do, I think, between not only how much I love snowboarding and how much it means to me, but also how hard it was for him to get his company and the new sport off the ground.

He was selling snowboards out of the back of his station wagon door-to-door and got told “No” at almost every ski shop he went into. And it was really an exercise in just grit and brute force that created the company Burton as well as the snowboarding industry as we know it today.

What Challenges Have You Faced?

There’s no shortage of challenges in any startup. I would say, personally, one of the main challenges that I face is I am a non-technical founder of a technology company or a tech company. It’s a never-ending learning experience trying to figure out, what does this mean? How can we do this in the best possible way for our customers, and how can I help learn something that will actually unlock speed for us?

So I would say that’s probably, like, the main challenge. Granted, we do have a really strong team around us. I have technical counterparts who are able to have my back in areas that I wouldn’t fully understand as a non-technical person. But along with that, too, we’re a consumer tech product. We’re competing for the attention of everyone with everything. If you think about your life as a consumer living in the attention economy, we are constantly fighting for people’s attention and trying to keep Smoov top of mind.

What Advice Can You Offer Other Entrepreneurs?

It’s really easy to feel like you’re not doing enough, but progress is binary. You’re either making progress or being productive, or you’re not. And I think the small victories are worth celebrating, because those are the ones that compound over time. And if you can just stack small victories on top of each other, ultimately you start to build something that becomes real.

What Value Has Gesmer Updegrove Provided to Smoov?

The value that Gesmer has provided for Smoov specifically and for me has been, you know, unparalleled. They’ve been with us since day zero. They helped us with all of our Delaware incorporation docs. They’ve helped me facilitate new hires, stuff like that, any sort of documentation that would have taken me months to figure out myself, probably weeks or months to figure out. They’ve been able to handle in short order. And like I said, they’ve been with us since Day Zero, and they’ve always had our back.

Why Do You Go With Gesmer?

You have to go with Gesmer because they’re the ones, especially when you’re starting your company, they’re the ones that know how to take you from zero to one and then everywhere I’ll say you’re going to end up going in the future. I wouldn’t see myself partnering with anybody other than Gesmer because of their industry expertise, because of their connections, their ability to unlock doors that you don’t even know exist. Their ability to answer questions that you don’t even know you should be asking. I can’t think of a better partner in a law firm or legal team than Gesmer, and I’m truly grateful for everything they’ve done for me.

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