Portfolio Rockstar of the Month: Drew Halliday, Gremln
Name: Drew Halliday, Business Development Executive at Gremln
Where are you from? I was born in Santa Monica, California but moved to St. Louis before I can remember. I grew up in St. Louis and went to high school at Chaminade.
Can you tell us about college and your first startup experience? After graduating from Chaminade I attended the University of Missouri where I studied Business and Financial Planning. As a student at Mizzou I started my first company, a location-based social discovery platform for college students called erodr. All content posted to the location based feed is disappearing or “eroding” away. Up-votes and down-votes affect the duration of each post, creating a crowd sourced content feed. It caught fire on campus and in the first year over 65% of Mizzou undergrads created accounts. I put my education on hold and moved to the San Francisco Bay to secure venture capital from both Matrix Partners and Trinity Ventures. We opened offices for erodr in Silicon Valley in 2013. Our adoption and frequency of attention at Mizzou demonstrated world class numbers, but our distribution model to new communities and new community growth metrics didn’t warrant a series A. In 2015 I had to make some tough decisions to keep erodr alive long term. I moved back to St. Louis and into my parent’s house to save money. I got a job working for Gremln at T-Rex and transplanted to the St. Louis entrepreneurial community. I still moonlight on erodr, and we are in the middle of a very exciting product pivot that will be released sometime in 2016.
When did you start working at Gremln and how has your role evolved? I started working at Gremln last October. Gremln is a social media management and compliance solution for financial institutions. Gremln is officially endorsed by the American Bankers Association. I originally joined Gremln as a Business Development Executive but my role has evolved. I am the head of our Compliance Brand and Risk team. I am a social media regulatory compliance pro. I manage a team of social media research analysts that provide professional services to clients. I am managing our current outbound campaign. I help with QA testing and bug tracking. I manage our interviewing process and the company internship program. I am also working to negotiate potential strategic partnerships. Our developers refer to me as a sales guy because I close business, but I see myself as a lot more.
What do you like about working downtown at T-Rex? I really enjoy working at T-Rex and being downtown in general. The space is creative and fun. I beat all of my coworkers in ping pong so that’s probably my favorite part about working at T-Rex. The free beer at networking events is also pretty great. In all seriousness, T-Rex is like a magnet for entrepreneurs and innovation. My favorite part about working at T-Rex is being a part of the entrepreneurial community in St. Louis. The next big thing could come from inside T-Rex.
As a startup founder in the Bay area, how would you compare your experience in Silicon Valley versus St. Louis? In Silicon Valley, entrepreneurial culture is much more prevalent. Networking is easy in the San Francisco Bay area. It seems like everyone is trying to come up with or be a part of the next big thing. Here in St. Louis, we don’t have the same entrepreneurial ecosystem as the bay area. It’s more difficult to find talent and not as easy to raise capital here. That being said, the entrepreneurial culture in St. Louis is growing and I’m here for the long haul. I hope to be a big part of the startup community in St. Louis.
Anything else you want to share that most people don’t know about you? I really care about conservation of natural resources. Last year I founded a non-profit conservation agency called Wetland Company. Our primary mission is to educate about the importance and destruction of wetland habitats. It is estimated that 90% of America’s historic wetlands have been destroyed in the last hundred years. Wetlands are the earths natural filters, cleaning contaminants and pollution out of the water supply. Wetlands keep the water table high by replenishing ground water. The long term goal for Wetland Company is to protect remaining wetlands and restore as much habitat as possible through land acquisition and land management. Wetland Co. acquired its first property in the historic Mississippi floodplain about 6 months ago. Wetland Company website is currently under construction, online store is coming soon!
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