Jaden Pereira started a multi-million dollar business in his dorm room.
Also known as Tyltgo: a customized same-day delivery service and software. Jaden went from delivering shawarma to his friends to partnering with massive retailers and acquiring a $2.3 million seed round earlier this year.
How did he do it? Keep reading for ALL his entrepreneurial secrets (and some tough love).
Tell us about Tyltgo!
Tyltgo provides merchants with same-day delivery and the ability to customize their post-purchase delivery experience through custom messaging and branding. This means that our customers – who range from meal kit providers to florists to pharmacies – don’t have to spend so much time on delivery logistics and can focus on what they do best. Tyltgo takes care of everything from providing branded delivery technology for our merchants’ websites to getting the drivers to deliver their goods to their customers.
You started Tyltgo in your dorm room at the University of Waterloo. What inspired the business?
I originally started Tyltgo as a delivery service for my fellow university students who didn’t have cars. So when they wanted ice cream, shawarma or groceries, they needed someone to deliver it to them. And that guy was me!
As I started working with more and more with local retailers, I realized how much they needed help on the delivery side of things. I ended up pivoting towards building out software that would make offering reliable same-day delivery under their own brand name easy and affordable while giving them access to a larger market.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in the first year of business? How did you overcome it?
I was a student with no money, a small team, and little credibility. I would show up in a 2003 Malibu to a meeting. Not exactly someone you would want to make a $100,000+ deal with.
But I practiced my customer pitches a lot. Like a lot! I knew I wasn’t the most trustworthy yet, so I asked myself: what can I be the best at right now? And that was being the most prepared. I studied my customers, empathized with their struggles, and tried to be more of an adviser rather than a Tyltgo sales guy.
And I finally started making some big deals. I leveraged those big deals into other big deals, and eventually my team and I got accepted into Y Combinator. That really changed the game for us!
How has COVID impacted your business, especially as a delivery service?
The first month after lockdown, our business dropped dramatically. But then it started increasing. And it just kept increasing. COVID restrictions have made retailers realize that offering delivery isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. And Tyltgo makes that must-have service way less of a hassle.
We also realized that a lot of the restaurants were pivoting to create meal kits in order to stay afloat during the pandemic. So we’re now focusing more on meal kit delivery, something that I had never even imagined Tyltgo would be so involved in when I started.
We know how lucky we are to still be in business. We’re so happy that we can help others stay open during this really tough time.
Tell us about the process of partnering with big companies like Bloomex.
When you sell to a small business, you’re selling to one person. At a big company, you’re selling to a group of people. And it takes just one of those people to say, “I don’t like this,” and the deal is off the table. So you need to find your champion: a person who really believes in you and your solution. They can push for you and keep the deal on the table.
To find your champion, don’t go straight to the CEO. That person is going to be way too busy to talk to you, plus they often don’t make these decisions. Find someone more intermediary and make them feel important. Get to know this person and help them out. They’ll become your champion and take you to the people who make the major buying decisions.
Tyltgo just announced a $2.3 million seed round! Tell us how you made it happen.
It’s super exciting! But it only happened thanks to lots of work by the Tyltgo team. We called SO many people! We were constantly researching investors and venture capital firms. We had to figure out: do they invest in our space? Do they invest in companies of our size? Who have they invested in before? Once again, our strength was our preparedness and persistence.
Another huge boost came from Y Combinator’s demo day, which is when all the startups in the Y Combinator cohort present to a bunch of investors. That got our name out there, lent us credibility and scored us a few meetings that led to other meetings, some of which landed a few of the investors in our seed round.
You started Tyltgo when you were just 20. What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs who want to launch something big and be taken seriously?
It’s really tough, I won’t lie. I totally get why people don’t trust young entrepreneurs. We don’t have the experience to show why we’re trustworthy. Young entrepreneurs can’t just show up to customers or investors and talk about ideas. You need to show that you’ve done something and that it works.
I recommend finding a problem and getting to know every single angle of it. You can’t just think you know the solutions. You need to talk to tons of people in that space and understand what they really need. Get to know your customers really well. Then build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which is basically a scrappy, early version of your idea, that solves this problem. If people are not willing to buy that scrappy version of your product, that’s a sign you may not be working on a big enough problem. That MVP will help you gain trust and buy-in from corporate customers and investors.
HOT TIP: Tyltgo is planning to double their team by the end of 2021. Looking for a job in sales or engineering? Check out their hiring page here.