Podcast Transcript – Series THREE, Episode 54
ANthony Gantt Jr, ATEASE Decemeber 2022
[00:00:00] Anthony Gantt: In the military, especially in the Marine Corps, we have some a saying called Semper Gumby, which means always flexible cuz things change all the time. And one of the things that they train you to get comfortable with is the unknown of the unknown. And it’s like you can be put into any environment. And just figure out how to win, right?
[00:00:22] So that creates a mindset of like whatever it is, I just gotta be successful at it. And that’s how I look at it in terms of [00:00:30] being an entrepreneur. You see a roadblock or you see something that can kinda like just stop you in your place and you’re like, let me figure out the left and right lateral limits cuz there’s somewhere that exists, a weak point that I can kind of infiltrate, penetrate through and kind of keep pushing forward.
[00:00:44] And then what really, really helps me is the military is all about failing and failing fast. Like when you go through your training, they want to break you and tear you down as quick as possible. That’s failing fast so that you can get the resiliency, get the grit that you need, and the perseverance to keep pushing forward.[00:01:00]
[00:01:01] Dan: What’s up Unfound Nation? Dan Kihanya here. Thanks so much for checking out another episode of Founders Unfound. That was Anthony Gantt, founder and CEO of atease, a company that curates temporary lodging rental inventory, enabling government travelers to stay in accommodation types beyond just hotels.
[00:01:19] Anthony grew up in Miami and a large family with modest. He had gifts from math, stem, and athletics, and when he got to Florida A&M University, he was quickly hit with the sticker shock of college [00:01:30] expenses, even at a public HBCU, like A&M. Urgency for solutions led him to take up the suggestion of the military as a way to subsidize his college experience.
[00:01:39] What followed as a 22 plus year distinguished career in the United States Marine Corp. Thank you so much for your service, by the way, Anthony. It was during his military tenure that he discovered that the number of lodging options you and I now take for granted weren’t allowed for those working in the various areas of the US Government.
[00:01:56] And as a father of six, he realized that small hotel rooms [00:02:00] don’t meet the needs when called to move across the country for a new assignment. And so atease was born.
[00:02:05] Anthony has a great story you’ll wanna listen in.
[00:02:08] Our episode is sponsored by Entrepreneur Struggle, a compelling podcast with host Chris Colbert from DCP Entertainment.
[00:02:15] If you’re looking for powerful conversations, That explore the mental and emotional health challenges that face entrepreneurs, entrepreneur struggles for you. Chris does a great job unpacking issues, finding wisdom and sharing stories. Check out Entrepreneur Struggle anywhere you listen to podcasts or [00:02:30] look for a link in the show notes.
[00:02:31] Before we continue, please make sure to like and subscribe to Founders Unfound. We’re also available anywhere you get your podcasts, even YouTube. Of course, you can follow us on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn @foundersunfound. And if you like what you hear, drop us a review on Apple or podchaser.com.
[00:02:47] Now on with the episode. Stay safe and hope you enjoy.[00:03:00]
[00:03:05] Hello and welcome to Founders Unfound, spotlighting the Best Startups you don’t know yet. We bring you stories of exceptional founders from underrepresented and underestimated backgrounds. This is the latest episode in our continuing series on founders of African descent.
[00:03:19] I’m your host, Dan Kihanya. Let’s get on it.
[00:03:22] Today we have Anthony Gantt, founder and CEO of atease, a company that qualifies and lists temporary lodging rental inventory. [00:03:30] Which enables per- diem government travelers to stay in accommodation types beyond hotels. Welcome to the show, Anthony. We’re super excited to have you on. Thanks so much for making the time.
[00:03:39] Anthony Gantt: Well, thank you for having me, Dan. You did an excellent job at describing what the company is.
[00:03:44] Dan: We wanna hear more about it. And to start off, why don’t you give us just a little bit more about exactly what is atease and what are you trying to solve?
[00:03:53] Anthony Gantt: So the problem that we’re solving is when government employees travel and it’s work related, whether it’s a relocation [00:04:00] like the military department of state, are they traveling to a conference or somewhere for a couple of days, a weeks?
[00:04:05] They’re kind of restricted to stay in hotels. And if you are standing for longer periods of time or traveling with multiple people, you might want to get a b and P option. Well, that doesn’t exist. And if you do use one of the sites that offer short term rentals, you run a risk of coming out of pocket. So we created a platform that inspects the properties, register them if they qualify for government, lodging a criteria, and then enlist them on our site. So it’s a booking [00:04:30] engine to book, like it says, accommodations beyond hotels. But we do offer hotels as well.
[00:04:34] Dan: It’s one of those ideas that, you know, just makes so much sense, but that like, if you don’t come from the world of military or government, it’s like it doesn’t even occur to you. And so we wanna dive more into that for sure. But before we get more into the company, let’s talk a little bit about you. Where did you grow up? Where are you from?
[00:04:54] Anthony Gantt: I grew up in Miami, Florida. I was born and raised there until I graduated high school, then moved to [00:05:00] Tallahassee and went to college at Florida a and m University. I’m the oldest of a lot of children.
[00:05:06] My mom and dad made four. Then my dad had, uh, two more after that. So, brothers, sisters, step-brothers, stepsisters are included. I’m the oldest of about seven or eight of us.
[00:05:16] Dan: Wow. Impressive. Obviously, we’re gonna get into sort of like your military journey, but when you were growing up, was the military a part of your extended family or did you think about what you wanted to do when you were [00:05:30] little?
[00:05:30] Anthony Gantt: Yeah, when I was little. What was unique about growing up in the area of Miami, which is Liberty City today, it was a airport down the street from us and you could climb my grandmother’s roof and we would watch the blue Wayne juices fly over and do the practice runs. So I always thought I was gonna grow up, go to Tuskegee University and be like the Red Tails, right.
[00:05:49] And fly jets, you know, for the Air Force. But that changed. And then I learned about electrical engineering and I wanted to be an engineer cuz I was really good at math and science.
[00:05:59] Dan: Did you connect [00:06:00] the dots around? Math and science and and engineering with flying, or you were just like, kind of like a tech person and you kind of like, like to dig into the engineering problem solving?
[00:06:11] Anthony Gantt: None of the above. I like to be out in the front yard or on the street, out in front of grandma’s house, in my house and playing football or playing literal league baseball or running track or something like. Also kind of a athlete who had the ability to understand math very well, and science was something that I [00:06:30] picked up later on.
[00:06:31] Looking at how they both relate to each other. And then just seeing the Blue Angels, it had nothing to do with engineering and technology. Just like it looks cool to fly a F 18 jet and do those crazy kind of spins and whirlwinds. And then I rode a rollercoaster and I was like, Ooh, I don’t know if I can pull those Gs.
[00:06:48] Dan: Yeah, that’s, yeah, that’s quite a difference. I’ve seen Top Gun it. It’s just this, watching it, I’m like feeling like, ah. So tell me, as you were thinking, What you wanted to do. So you went to college, right? [00:07:00] You, you went to college. How did the military enter into like the actual step? Because I think a lot of us, I I, my mom likes to quote and tell me when I was 10 I told her I was gonna be be a marine or an artist, and I obviously became neither one of those.
[00:07:12] So how did it become crystallized in your journey to, to become part of the military?
[00:07:17] Anthony Gantt: So I took the same journey as Jeff Bezos, right? And it started with, And what I mean by that is in public school they give you free books. This is back in the nineties. I get to [00:07:30] FAMU and um, I have these classes. So the first semester, it was funny cuz my cousin was a sophomore. I borrowed his books. He was like, don’t worry about books, I got you. And I was like, all right, whatever. I just don’t get a free book from the college. And then when it came to spring semester, which was my second semester of. Our path kind of went on different routes, and I’m going down engineering, he’s going down something else, so I can’t use any of his books anymore.
[00:07:52] So I go to the bookstore to get books. I go to the desk to check out my books, and they’re telling me it’s gonna be. [00:08:00] Five, six, $700 for the books that I just came to check out. And I’m like, this is a public school, right? They were like, yeah, it’s a public university, but you still have to pay for your books.
[00:08:09] And I was like, I just put the books back on the shelf and I said, I’ll just go to class, take copious notes and I’ll pass like that. Well, that didn’t happen. I ended up failing three classes. I’m not proud of this. I felt African American History Theater, intro to theater, and c. I passed the other two classes, a math class cuz I was good at math and I [00:08:30] passed the chemistry lab cuz you didn’t really need a book for that.
[00:08:32] That’s why I say like Jeff Bezos, my career path started with books. I couldn’t afford the books and fast forward to that summer, I borrowed the books from all of my peers who went through the class that semester. Passed it did the forgiveness grade and I was sitting down talking to two of my buddies who were cousins and they said, just get a Montgomery GI Bill for next semester.
[00:08:51] And I was like, who is that? And it’s like Montgomery GI Bill and be a reservist like us. I’m like, what are you guys talking about? They were Army national guards for the state of Florida. So I went to the recruiter’s [00:09:00] office to be a Florida National Guard and ended up joining the Marine Corps Reserves.
[00:09:04] So that’s how my book story led me to the Marine. No traditional puch, just like you guys pay for books, they said, yeah. All right. When can I start? Cuz I wanna be back for next semester.
[00:09:14] Dan: Wow, that’s a great story. And you know, when you’re, when you’re at that age, sometimes the gravity of that probably doesn’t sink in because the practicality is taking over. Really, Hey, they’re gonna help me figure out how to cover the cost I’m in. What made you [00:09:30] decide on the Marines versus the versus Army?
[00:09:35] Anthony Gantt: Nothing other than the guy standing outside and he talked. He spoke to me and what I mean, I went to the Air Force and the guy said, make an appointment. I said, I don’t have time for appointments. I need these books, right? Do you have a reserve unit here and can I start getting some Montgomery GI Bill?
[00:09:51] What do I need to do? He’s like, gotta make an appointment and said whatever. I took myself down three doors. I walked down three doors. And talking to the Navy, [00:10:00] and this is a college town, and most recruiters are in their young 25, 26 year old gage group, right? So imagine a guy in military handsome making money in a city with young college women, right?
[00:10:13] So he ain’t thinking about recruiting me. He’s on the phone and you can see he’s right. And it is just like, Ugh, I’m not gonna sit here any longer. And I just did like, like get outta. I walk into the Army office and it’s like seven, eight recruiters, and they are having a party, [00:10:30] not like a, a party in a sense, but they’re just like, haha, joking and going back and forth with each other.
[00:10:35] They’re like, go in the back office, take a test and we’ll, we’ll talk to you. But I’m in the back of the test and I’m just pressing like this. I’m like, man, this is a army test. I don’t need to pay attention to this test. So they, I come out and they’re like, you didn’t do well on the test. Go back and study and then come back.
[00:10:49] I. I’m not wasting my time with the Army. And I walk out and I remember Staff Sergeant John Kelly was standing outside doing his uniform, fixing it up around the front. And I said, [00:11:00] Hey. And he said, Hey, what’s going on? I said, just humor me. Is the military not taking people right now? And he said, what do you mean?
[00:11:06] I said, I’ve walked into all of the offices. No one takes me serious and no one is looking at me like a prime candidate. Like I’m in shape. I’m extremely smart, and I just need Montgomery GI Bill. And he’s like, well, you haven’t come talk to me. I said, I’ll walk by your office three times. You said, and I think he said, I’m talking to you now.
[00:11:23] I said two things. My buddy said, recruiters a liars. So I’m already assuming you’re a liar. Do you have Montgomery GI Bill and is [00:11:30] there a reserve unit here in uh, Tallahassee, Florida? He said, yes, yes. I said, show me both. So he jumped in the vehicle, went to the reserve unit and said, United States Marine Corps Reserve.
[00:11:38] And I was like, perfect. This is a few blocks away from my apartment. And then we sat down and he showed me what the Montgomery GI Bill was, and he said all the services had it. I said, all right, where do I sign up? He said, well, you gotta take a test. I was like, I don’t wanna take that test. The Army guys get me to take it.
[00:11:51] I can do it. He’s like, I proved to you that the GI bill was. And that the reserves unit was here proved to me, you can pass the test if I send you down to Jacksonville, [00:12:00] Florida. I said, that’s fair. Took the test. Scored really well. And he’s like, can you do pullups? I said, I can do pullups cuz I was an athlete in high school so my, I didn’t get any scholarships for colleges that I wanted to go to.
[00:12:11] So I said, I’ll just go to a college I want to go to and I’ll try to walk on. Well, that never happened because of the book situation, and I was learning what college was. We didn’t have Google back in the day to do all this research. It was like you get a brochure in the mail, you figure it out, and you go back in the nineties, like sophomore year, I’m gonna walk on, I’ll be ready, but I’m looking at my grades.
[00:12:28] I was like, I can’t walk on [00:12:30] anywhere. And I said, I can do pullups, I can run. So he had me run a mile and a half. I ran down in like six and a half minutes, maybe seven minutes, and he’s like, man, that’s pretty fast. Yeah, I was in shape and he had me do pullups, so I’m just knocking out the pullups and he had me do crunches.
[00:12:43] He was like, all right, when you get the bootcamp, don’t do any of that. Start low so when you finish they’ll look like you increased. So from the time I met Staff Sergeant Kelly to the time I was in bootcamp was three weeks. And the only reason it took three weeks cuz one week South Carolina was hit by a hurricane.
[00:12:59] So [00:13:00] that’s how I became a Marine.
[00:13:01] Dan: So I’m curious, like what was the reaction from your family when you told them?
[00:13:06] Anthony Gantt: No one knew . Only person knew. Two people knew. My cousins who were in Tallahassee with me going to college, they were like, you crazy. Um, but I was like, no, I’ll be back by fall Seme, uh, spring semester in January, so don’t worry about it.
[00:13:18] And then when I got to Paris Island, they have, if you ever see the YouTube clip, when recruits come to Paris Island, they have to pick up the phone and call somebody next. Back then, we had to remember phone numbers. The only phone number I can remember [00:13:30] was grandma. All right. Uh, so I called my grandma like, Hey grandma, this is me.
[00:13:34] She’s like, amp, who are you calling me from? Why’d you call me collect? I was like, because I’m in the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. She’s like, you in jail? , no, grandma. I’m not in jail. Oh, man, I, I joined the Marine Corps. She’s like, why don’t you go and do that? I was like, I needed money for college. She was like, well, All right, I’ll let your mama know.
[00:13:53] And then that was it. So I was like, all right, love you. She’s like, love you too. Ha be safe. And that was it.
[00:13:59] Dan: [00:14:00] Wow. That’s pretty incredible. So you have a very long and distinguished career in the Marines. What was the point where you said, this is different? This is not just a shortcut to me getting back to school and affording school like, this is something I really want to do.
[00:14:18] Anthony Gantt: It was when I got back to school in 2000, after I finished all my initial training, I was looking at the person that I was and look at the person I became. [00:14:30] Discipline, like to the next level, even in more shape than I was prior to going. And I started looking at, man, these guys really pay me just to stay in shape.
[00:14:37] This is a really good job. Like they just pay me to run and work out and be strong, not thinking about what I might have to do, right? Like they’re paying me to be in shape. And then I love. The culture that I was a part of now, like the, uh, respect, sir, ma’am, my family taught me like that respectful stuff, like the southern gentleman type of stuff.
[00:14:57] And I was embracing and living it. And then when you’re on base, it’s [00:15:00] like pleasant field. It’s like it’s. Own little town, own little ecosystem. And it is very nice in certain situations to like how you live the grocery store, the mall, the movie theater, the bowl island. You can do a lot of things and you’re in a safe environment.
[00:15:13] Think about it. A kid growing up in Miami during the drug era, the refugees coming from Cuba, refugees coming from Haiti, there was a lot of things that were happening in that city that I saw, and this was 180 degrees different from that environment. So it was like, I want to be a part of. And then the [00:15:30] people I met from all walks of life, all religions, all ethnic backgrounds, and how they relate to whatever it is that they relate to.
[00:15:37] And it was a melting pot. And I was like, this is how America should be. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s less blacks than Hispanics and minorities. In the military, but you’re throwing into like these platoons and these groups and these crews that you have no choice but to interact with and you start forging buzz with total strangers that become brothers and sisters for life.
[00:15:58] I just said, I wanna be a part of [00:16:00] this lumber, and when I went back to college I was like, yeah, family is cool. Going, going to the homecoming is cool, but it was something that was still missing that I experienced during that one year of just basic training.
[00:16:13] Dan: incredible. I actually have a good friend whose son just finished bootcamp with the Marines and uh, they went to graduation and that was his observation. His kids grew up in the suburbs, you know, not very, um, diverse necessarily. And he is like, I’m looking at who my son is hanging [00:16:30] around with, who he’s graduating with. He said the same thing. It’s like it represents America in a way that you won’t necessarily see in other contexts and other environments.
[00:16:40] In terms of the journey, I, I don’t know if everybody, especially people in my audience know a lot about the military. I mean, I think there’s obviously the people who are in theaters of war and interactive, but what is the journey like? I mean, is it something where you kind of, I know you move around a lot, which we’ll get to, but like in terms of what you [00:17:00] do, do you look to do the same thing and just do it with more responsibility?
[00:17:04] Do you look to try and do different things? Are you looking to be engaged? You know, places where it’s more active in terms of theaters of war and, and things that are, are a little bit more intense. Like how does someone think about like a career in the military?
[00:17:18] Anthony Gantt: Let’s dissect it in kind of like different lanes.
[00:17:21] You have folks who will join and they have something called M Os, which stands for military occupational Specialty. Within that m mos, you get to. [00:17:30] What it is you think you want to do, and that is maybe your first two years, three years, four years. And for some Moss, military occupation specialties, it could be eight years.
[00:17:40] Cuz you know, if they train you to be a pilot, they want you to be a pilot. If they train you to be a linguist, they want you to be a linguist. So those contracts are a little bit longer. But say if I like me, I went in as a M one, A one tank crew member where I got the ride around inside M one A one tanks.
[00:17:56] I would do my first enlistment, which is typically four years, but that [00:18:00] four years is not really four years. If you look at it holistically. It’s 12 weeks in bootcamp, so three months, and then it’s another two months in another school, and then it’s another six months in another school. So about a year is just getting me to become a Marine and into that mos.
[00:18:15] And then I transitioned to a base that, let’s call it North Carolina again. And now I’m learning a job and by the time I learn a job, it’s on year two and a half three. And they’re asking me do I wanna stay? And if I say no, then that fourth year is me transitioning [00:18:30] out. If I say, yeah, then I continue to do that job and they’re looking for me to go somewhere else to become better at the job.
[00:18:36] Then there’s the other path where you say, I don’t wanna do tanks anymore. I want to be intelligence, or I want to be, like you said, the ones who go into those environments that are more kinetic and you say, I want to be a special operator. Right. David Goggins type of people, like he actively chose to go do stuff like that.
[00:18:54] Um, I want to go be a infantry man or I want to, cuz you have different sections like in the Marine Corps we have [00:19:00] combat arms and combat. Then the other services, they also have the same thing. And the Army and the Marine Corps are basically a combat arms type of folks with the ground tanks, infantry and stuff like that.
[00:19:11] And then the other services, your Navy and your Air Force and Coast Guard, they’re more supportive source services. So while Jets may have air to air combat, We haven’t seen it since like, I don’t know Vietnam, but it’s possible that is not what you typically would see today. So Army and the Marine Corps are gonna be the ones that are going to be in those [00:19:30] kinetic environments.
[00:19:31] So individuals have the opportunity to say, I want to stay in this career path and go all the way to the highest within that rank structure as an enlisted person and become a specialist in it. Or you have others who say, I want to be jack of all, master of none, officers who will learn a. But have those masters of the trade work for them in a sense, and you’ll just manage them.
[00:19:55] So like you have different paths that you can go to. And the reason the military moves people [00:20:00] around so often is so you can get a diversity of experience from different regions around the world. So when you get interjected into a situation, you have a lot of different experience to pull from to where you can be more adept to overcome that obstacle that you’re facing.
[00:20:15] That’s what drew me to stay, was the people. I met a lot of good people, and then the ability to move around like. Career went from doing tanks to going back to school. They sent me back to school. That’s how I got my engineering degree. And then I [00:20:30] switched jobs and became an air sport control guy who sat in the tent and looked at the airspace and was like, make sure that missile doesn’t hit that plane.
[00:20:36] And then I was bored with that, so they threw me on the ship, um, out in the Pacific and it was like, Hey, go play in the Pacifica, uh, with these infantry and these pilots and these, all these other folks. And if something happens, you’ll be able, the first guy. Be a part of it And I was like, wait, what? Uh, . But it was pretty fun cuz I got to see a lot of different places and, and countries and people eat some weird food like I ate. I think the [00:21:00] weirdest thing I’ve eaten was sharkfin.
[00:21:02] Dan: Wow. Thanks for sharing all that. For somebody who obviously didn’t go through the military, it’s really intriguing and fascinating to hear how they’ve built it. And we’re gonna connect the dots to atease in a moment. But we’re gonna take a short break and we’ll be right back with Anthony Gant from atease.
[00:21:19] Entrepreneur Struggle spot: If you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur or just starting a business of your own, then you definitely need to be listening to Entrepreneur Struggle. I’m Chris Colbert and I love having fun conversations with fellow [00:21:30] entrepreneurs about their struggles. You have good years, you have bad years. I mean, it is not like weeks or D, it is like years, right?
[00:21:37] because let’s be honest, we all face challenges, but there’s no reason that we have to overcome them alone. Just search for entrepreneur struggle anywhere you get your podcast.
[00:21:48] Dan: So we’re back with Anthony from atease. So Anthony. So I understand that you’ve recently retired or you’ve gone through enough of a, of a tenure to be eligible to [00:22:00] retire from the military, but you started atease while you were still active. Tell us about how the idea came about or what, what was the origin for? Why atease?
[00:22:12] Anthony Gantt: The military was giving me a new assignment. I received orders from Quantico, Virginia to go to Austin, Texas and take over a position at the University of Texas for one of the R OTC instructors for Naval R otc, which I have to say was an amazing time.
[00:22:29] [00:22:30] I had nothing but fun and and learned a lot while at ut and in that time. We decided to take a vacation. When I say we, uh, wife and kids, we have six kids, four girls and two boys. So you can imagine when you travel, the options of where I’m gonna stay temporarily are not hotels. So I remember. When we got orders from Virginia, we were staying at a base hotel, cuz that’s what you really have to do, regardless of how big your family is.
[00:22:59] And they [00:23:00] said this is the extended suite. There was two queens and a pullout couch. So the first thing we did was smush these two chairs together and let my, I think she was five years old at the time, maybe six year old, put some sheets down, put some blankets in. She was the youngest daughter. She loved it.
[00:23:13] But in my head I said, I can’t believe I’m pushing two chairs together for my daughter to sleep in them. Cause we don’t have enough. And then the second draw was when the kids woke up in the morning and we’re gonna go do the continental breakfast thing and they had to go to the bathroom. We were on the second or third floor.
[00:23:26] I had to take the boys in the elevator, go down to the lobby and then take them to the [00:23:30] bathroom while the girls were upstairs. I was like, we’re not doing this again. So told the wife like, Hey. Go ahead and look on Home Away and Airbnb and see if we can get a house at Austin cuz we were gonna purchase a home.
[00:23:40] So we knew we had at least two weeks to wait till it closed and was like, we’ll use whatever they’re gonna give us for the hotel reimbursement. Let’s just stay there. So she booked the house off Airbnb. Fast forward to in Austin. Sitting in this five bedroom, like 3,500 square foot house pool in the backyard.
[00:23:57] I think it was five bedrooms. So the kids are [00:24:00] everywhere, like quiet. Nobody’s arguing, no one’s fighting over the bathroom. We went grocery shopping, got stuff so we don’t have to eat out three times a day like you do in a hotel. And I’m not bashing hotels, I’m just saying it’s a difference when you have a large.
[00:24:13] And it was amazing. So the experience and everything that we were able to enjoy about being at that short-term rental made it all worth awhile for booking it. Now, that’s when I learned government employees can’t use Airbnb and V R B O, and I was like, what? Because I’m turning in my [00:24:30] receipt for the voucher processing to get my reimbursement.
[00:24:33] So, Lucky it was Texas and it was only $99 a day. This when short-term rentals were cheap. Now, I’m not a political supporter of the Make America great, but I do still a, when I say make short-term rentals affordable again, . The prices today are out of control, but it was very cost effective for the family and the military.
[00:24:53] And you as a taxpayer, I saved you a lot of money. One, because government didn’t reimburse me, and then two, if they did reimburse me, it was [00:25:00] half the cost. What they would’ve given me for a hotel.
[00:25:02] Dan: And why don’t they allow Airbnbs or, or VRBO?
[00:25:08] Anthony Gantt: One, the companies are platforms that just allow people to list and find properties. And let’s talk about the listing side of the house. There were two articles that came out in the last 30 days. One about three, um, travelers in Mexico where a tragedy happened because a carbon monoxide detector wasn’t in the house and the three fatalities occurred. So no one’s going through it and verifying like the safety features of these proper.
[00:25:29] [00:25:30] And then there’s another story right now where there’s a, I think he’s a prior L lawyer, a judge who was going on a trip with his family because he was diagnosed with a fatal illness, so this was gonna be like their last vacation as a family while he was still present and a fire broke out and he ended up losing two of his daughters again, because no one verified the smoke detectors were working out at, they were hardwired that they functioned in.
[00:25:53] So the government is looking at the safety of its investment, which are government employees who they’ve trained and put all this [00:26:00] money into, and the only way they’re gonna like jeopardize that safety if, if they put you in harm’s way. Not just because you’re staying somewhere where there are rules in place that hotels had to abide by back in the late eighties, early nineties that say, Hey, hotels, too much is happening.
[00:26:14] You need to get. So now you can go to a hotel. You see smoke detectors and alarms and sprinklers throughout the building, right? That doesn’t exist in your single family residential units where people are leasing and short term in their homes. So you don’t know if you’re getting a house that’s safe or a house that’s about to go up in flames.
[00:26:29] So [00:26:30] in 2015, the government just say, Hey, either make sure that they’re safe or we just won’t use you. And the companies are big enough to like, they don’t need the government travel, right? They’re like, all right. And the government’s like, well, fine, then none of my people will use you. And then for us, like if we still try to use it, they’re like, if you use it, you will come out of pocket.
[00:26:48] So everybody’s like, all right, all right. Alright. Right. Uncle Sam, you got me.
[00:26:51] Dan: So obvious problem, obvious, uh, or challenge, I should just say, could have gone different ways to try and tackle it. What was the deciding [00:27:00] factor? Like, Hey, I’m gonna start a business to, to try and fix this. How did that thinking evolve?
[00:27:05] Anthony Gantt: It evolved from like, I was like, it gotta be a business that already does this for government. Uh uh, really? It was like for military families. And I was like, huh, there’s no business that does it. And I was like, man, if I was still young, Lance Corporal, which is a E three, who only makes like a thousand, $1,200 a month, and I lost a thousand, $1,200 for staying outta Airbnb, I’d be pissed off. And I wouldn’t go to work.
[00:27:25] And then once I went go to work, first Sergeant had call me and say, why aren’t you at work? And I was like, first time, I gotta [00:27:30] make this money back. And like I said, I’m from Miami, so I was trying to figure out how I’m gonna make this money back as a young guy from Miami. Then I would’ve came back in after I made the money back.
[00:27:37] Now they wanna figure out how I made my money back and they wanna figure out why I was missing. Now I’m AWOL and getting charged and. All this other stuff that’ll make my career go the opposite of what it ended up being. Now it’s like, I don’t want that to happen to any other service member that may be a young service member with a family, and they’re familiar with Airbnb, right?
[00:27:57] They’re familiar with Uber, they’re familiar with the [00:28:00] scooters that they ride. They’re gonna go to those resources like this. People who are making the rules in the government are not familiar with those things, so they’re gonna go to the Marriotts and the Hiltons. And just thinking about that young service member is like, I wonder if I built the company, how would I do it? And I just built the company while I was on active duty. It was hard. I’ll tell you that. .
[00:28:19] Dan: I can’t even imagine, like how do you have the time and the, and especially with a family, I’ve got two kids, six kids, just makes my mind spin. Thinking about it. I mean, I guess the discipline [00:28:30] of your career allows you to be more productive, but still, that’s a hard thing to do.
[00:28:36] Anthony Gantt: I’ll tell you then what made it doable was I dropped the hobbies that I had where most people would work on cars, go fishing or golf. I just got rid of all of all of it, and my hobby became building a business and then to not take away from the kids. I kind of got them involved. I didn’t ask ’em, I made ’em.
[00:28:52] I was like, you study Facebook ads, you study Instagram ads, you study TikTok, and one of my daughters could draw. I. [00:29:00] You get a application that you want to do to make some graphics for us, cuz you about to be my graphic designer. And then my youngest two, I just told ’em to make jingles for ads and everything.
[00:29:10] And then I had like, if, if you ever go, if you can ever find it. The first couple of marketing things that we did, the kids did all of it. They did the Facebook, they did the Instagram, they made the jingles, they did the uh, graphics, they did all of it. And it was pretty fun.
[00:29:25] Dan: That’s great that, and that’s a kind of tactic they use in corporations, right? Like if you get [00:29:30] people involved with the creation and the ideas, they buy in more. And so I know that there’s a lot of tension sometimes with families, with entrepreneurs. It is an all-consuming thing. Well, that’s a great life hack. There is. Hey, have the kids, have the kids working on Facebook.
[00:29:47] Anthony Gantt: They experienced the hotel and not getting reimbursed right. So it was a problem that they experienced themselves as well, cuz that $1,200 was a Lego set, or a dollhouse.
[00:29:58] Dan: Right. Great point. [00:30:00] Very smart. So tell us a little bit more about like how does it work? Do you sign up as a government employee and like how does it work?
[00:30:07] Anthony Gantt: On one side of the house, what we do is we go to these conferences and get on podcasts that are focused on vacation rentals, and we say, Hey, there’s a, a huge market of travelers.
[00:30:18] They’re called government employees at all levels, federal, state, and government. If you manage short term rentals, we want to get your property on our platform, but wait. Before you just try to register and sign up. We have to vet you. We have to confirm that you’re not a [00:30:30] terrorist or a human traffic guard, any kind of like bad actor.
[00:30:32] And then we want to, we’ll, we’ll validate that by saying, show me your business entity cuz no criminal is gonna have a L L C or S corp. Or maybe they could, but for the most part, most criminals are like not trying to be. Like connected with the government. Then we ask for the e I n, then we say, now we have to go and inspect your property.
[00:30:47] Cuz not only want to do, we want to ensure that you’re a real person, but we wanna make sure that your property’s real and we wanna see where, where the property’s located. And then we go out and do ins in person inspections. In the last 30 days, I put 4,000 miles on my [00:31:00] vehicle doing inspections across the country.
[00:31:01] Then my team is going out and inspecting. And then we enlist military spouses of active service members and retirees to do the inspections as well. On the other side of the. I’m a retiree. I have buddies who are still active, their spouses are still active, and most of the team, our core team today is military spouses, veteran and military dependents.
[00:31:21] So we go out to our niche and say, Hey guys, you using atease? And they go, what are you talking about? Uh, you wanna get reimbursed when you move? You can use a house. And they go, [00:31:30] yeah, yeah. What? What are you doing? And we just tell ’em about it. And then on LinkedIn, one of my friends, she’s a army captain, and she’s like, can I use it for the defense travel system?
[00:31:37] I say, absolutely. I used it before I retired. She’s like, I didn’t know. So she’s like, all right, I’m telling everyone. So the word of mouth is what we’ve been doing. And then how we vet and verified that their military, we work with another company created by a veteran who kind of validates that people served in the.
[00:31:52] And through that process, before anyone can come to our portal, they have to be able to go through that verification process. Like, yes, you served, so you can be [00:32:00] a veteran, a someone who served in the State Department, department of Justice, any government employee, and then you get access to to the properties and you can make a reservation.
[00:32:07] So we’re vetting both sides to make sure that one is not a guess, who’s just like coming out here to do some craziness. And then on the other side, we’re making sure that the property is real. It’s a good actor and they’re a legal, legitimate business, and it’s safe.
[00:32:20] Dan: Nice plastic marketplace. And I assume it’s kind of like uh, OTA type business model.
[00:32:27] Anthony Gantt: Yeah. Online travel agency. Absolutely. [00:32:30] That’s where we’re at today.
[00:32:31] Dan: And as you think about the supply side and the, do you focus on concentrations around military, uh, establishments?
[00:32:40] Anthony Gantt: We do large government areas where you have a high density of government employees, whether that’s military or civilians. So think the Northern Virginia, DC Southern, uh, Maryland.
[00:32:50] And we look at where there’s a high population of short-term rentals, corporate housing providers, and we kind of put those two together. So you’re San Diegos, um, that [00:33:00] San Diego County has a huge military presence. They have a lot of vacation rentals cuz of San Diego in the middle of the country. Closer to me.
[00:33:06] We have San Antonio, Texas, that’s where I was just two days ago. They have like joint based San Antonio, which is comprised of about four different bases. San Antonio has a lot of vacation rentals. Right. And then, like I said, the DC. We’re expanding. We’ve expanded to over 22 cities in eight to 10 different states.
[00:33:23] So Tampa, Florida, again, these large hubs of government presence with a lot of [00:33:30] vacation rentals, and basically we say, Hey, for you guys who have vacation rentals and you’re looking for opportunities to get more revenue or kind of reduce your vacancy, government travelers are a great resource for that because they don’t worry about a recession cuz the government’s still moving.
[00:33:45] And during the covid, my biggest issue was not getting people to travel. It was finding people who were in business with short-term rentals. We had like, Hey, I got a thousand people who need to travel. Can you find ’em? Housing? And I would call managers that we were working with early on in 2020 and they’re [00:34:00] like, I’m out of business.
[00:34:01] I’m going out of business. I was like, I think I can save your business. They’re like, don’t talk to me . I was like, what’s wrong with these people?
[00:34:08] Dan: I didn’t even think about that. Yeah. During Covid there was probably a lot of military and first responders and people that are, that are moving around to help in the initial response to the pandemic.
[00:34:20] Anthony Gantt: March, April and May. The US was pulling people back from foreign countries, and these are people who live in these other countries and don’t have a home or an apartment [00:34:30] established in the US We got so many calls like, can you house me until Covid is over? And I was like, I think so. Let me try. We did our best efforts, but everybody on Airbnb that we are trying to pull off, like the the host, they were like, this is a scam and.
[00:34:42] It’s not a scam. I don’t know how to convince you that I’m a United States Marine active duty. I have U S A I D people who need to stay. So we made a lot of money. We lost a lot cuz we, we had to turn some reservations away because people went outta business and kind of started helping hotels out. And that’s how I said, Hey hotels, would you [00:35:00] like to listen on atease too?
[00:35:00] And they was like, yes, .
[00:35:03] Dan: Nice. So tell me Anthony. Great progress so far. Let’s say it’s five years from now. And atease is a, is a massive success and we bump into each other. I say, how did it go, Anthony? He said, Hey, we killed it. It was great. What are you gonna tell me that’s gonna illustrate that? What is your measure of success?
[00:35:25] What is, what is the big vision for this?
[00:35:28] Anthony Gantt: How many people we help, how [00:35:30] many lives we can make better in terms of like, our motto has changed How you move. It’s not like creating experiences for standard vacation rentals. It’s like changing how you move moving is extremely difficult. We just decided to start with short stays and then we’re looking at rolling other verticals and horizontals out with that, with different partnerships and, um, services that we provide.
[00:35:51] Like, you know, just like making moving. So success for us is gonna look like, Hey, we were able to help. Our mission is [00:36:00] 20,000. Government families change how they move, whether they’re moving for short term vacation, or they’re moving from state to state, or country to country. We just wanna be a part of that makes it easier because the stress that most federal government employees who are relocate and deal with is because they’re out on the forefronts protecting our nation and kind of doing things that most of us don’t know.
[00:36:20] That’s already a stressful life. You shouldn’t be stressed when you’re moving or relocating. That’s how we measure success.
[00:36:26] Dan: I love that. I love that. And it’s, uh, you start with people, start with the [00:36:30] customer. You start with the the end person you’re trying to serve. I love that. That’s great. Well, we’re gonna take another short break and we’ll be right back with Anthony Gantt from atease.
[00:36:39] Entrepreneur Struggle spot: If you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur, or just starting a business of your own, then you definitely need to be listening to Entrepreneur. I’m Chris Colbert, and I love having fun conversations with fellow entrepreneurs about their struggles. You have good years, you have bad years. I mean, it is not like weeks, or it is like years, right?
[00:36:58] because let’s be honest, [00:37:00] we all face challenges, but there’s no reason that we have to overcome them alone. Just search for entrepreneur struggle anywhere you get your podcast.
[00:37:08] Dan: All right, we’re back again with Anthony Gantt from atease. So Anthony, let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about. You know, we’ve had several athletes, like kind of elite level athletes on the show, and they’ve talked about the parallels and, uh, analogous aspects of the journey of an athlete and an entrepreneur.
[00:37:29] Tell [00:37:30] us a little bit about what do you lean into from your military experience? That you think is not obvious to the audience about like, Hey, this is really like being an entrepreneur. Just change the terms or change the context, but there’s a lot of similarities or maybe there aren’t, like how do you see that?
[00:37:51] Anthony Gantt: There are are a ton of similarities and the military, especially in a Marine Corps, we have some a saying called Semper Gumby. Uh, which means always [00:38:00] flexible cuz things change all the time. And one of the things that they train you to get comfortable with is the unknown of the unknown. And it’s like you can be put into any environment, any climb, and just figure out how to win.
[00:38:13] Right. So that creates a mindset of like whatever it is, I just gotta be successful at it. And that’s how I look at it in terms of being an entrepreneur. Like you see a roadblock or you see something that can kind of like just stop you in your place and you’re like, let me figure out the left and right lateral limits, cuz there’s [00:38:30] somewhere that exists, a weak point that I can kind of infiltrate, penetrate through and kind of keep pushing forward.
[00:38:35] And then what really, really helps me is the military is all about failing and failing fast. Like when you go through your. They want to break you and tear you down as quick as possible. That’s failing fast so that you can get the resiliency, get the grit that you need, and the perseverance to keep pushing forward.
[00:38:50] Because what you’re going to do essentially in the military is like really important, and you apply that to the entrepreneur standpoint. It’s like just be gritty, have a lot of [00:39:00] resilience, be persevere, and just keep trucking alone. The other thing that helps similar to athletes is consistency. When they practice, like say a wide receiver, you have to keep running that slant route, running a slant route, running a slant.
[00:39:11] It’s consistency or pattern or consistency that you build. Same thing with military. We have a saying saying, slowest, smooth, smooth this fast. So you take your time and you’re very methodical about doing things until you build a pattern and that pattern becomes so familiar to you that you just keep doing it without even thinking about it.
[00:39:28] Like tying your [00:39:30] shoes. Right. Uh, when you first started tying your shoes, we were very slow. Then you got smooth and now you just, and don’t even think about it. So those are the things that I think I’ve drawn on or taken away from my military experience. I like to say that’s in my toolbox that I use as I build atease.
[00:39:47] Dan: You know, to me it’s always mind boggling why it’s so hard for corporations and the business world to embrace veteran. Just because of the, that [00:40:00] toolkit, like you said, I remember I was telling my wife the other day, I had an interview a few years ago, somebody who came out of Iraqi Freedom young man, and I don’t know, he’s like 26 or 25 maybe, went right outta West Point, was a artillery commander and you know, freedom didn’t take very long.
[00:40:18] And he said, uh, after we got to this town, His battalion commander handed him a book about police work and he said, you’re the police chief of this town now. And he was like [00:40:30] 23 years old. He didn’t know anything about police work, and he said, that’s what the military, just like you said, it’s like you don’t know what you don’t know, but you know, I’m adaptable and I can dig into it and I can figure it out.
[00:40:42] It always really surprises me that it’s so challenging for, for veterans to be embraced, not just accepted, but embraced. It’s like, Hey, this is a talent that’s unique.
[00:40:52] Anthony Gantt: I have a theory behind that. It’s because of there’s a cultural difference in the language that military folks learn to [00:41:00] speak versus the civilians who go through corporate.
[00:41:05] there’s no course. Yeah. This is like my next startup, . There’s a course that exists to kind of tell that language, uh, exchange. There are people who have made attempts like you see, like, what does this metal mean? What does this ribbon mean? And how do you judge it as a, uh, recruiter at a job? But what people don’t really realize is because only 1% of the nation.
[00:41:27] it’s very difficult for the other [00:41:30] 99% to understand the thought process and the ethos that military folks have. Here’s one of my pet pee. Someone will say, I’m gonna have a meeting at this time, and then I’m at the meeting and you can attest to this. Like, I, I, I sent you an email like, Hey, I’m already standing by in the portal that we’re doing for this session.
[00:41:48] And I was like, I’d rather be on time than late. And then I had it, you know, I was early. So a lot of military we’re always early to stuff. And sometimes military vets, when they’re dealing with [00:42:00] civilians, they will cuss them out because that’s what you did. Military, somebody’s. So we have a tough time transitioning back into the workforce because like, why are you late?
[00:42:08] You say you were gonna do this, you didn’t do it. And civilians are like, this guy’s too intense. I don’t wanna be around that intensity. It’s, it’s funny.
[00:42:16] Dan: Yeah, I felt, I felt a little worried cuz uh, usually I’m waiting for people cuz they’re running a little late and it’s like, oh yeah, he’s military, he’s gonna be there.
[00:42:23] And there you were right there when I came in. That makes sense. That makes sense. It, it’s kind of a shame that it, that we have to go through [00:42:30] that translation, I guess. But as you think about the entrepreneurial world, I know you worked with something called Bunker Lab or Bunker Labs. Tell us a little bit about that. Cause I think that has sort of that entrepreneurial veteran connectivity right?
[00:42:50] Anthony Gantt: Oh, absolutely. So I was fortunate to be in Austin. Oh, this is Austin and Chicago were like the birthplace of Bunker Labs. Navy Vet in Chicago was getting out, wanted to be [00:43:00] entrepreneurs and saw there were no resources for US veterans who were in this space. So he created something and he was like, Hey, we need an ecosystem that just helped vets understand entrepreneurialism.
[00:43:09] Reason being, if you look at World War II statistics, Half of the vets who got out started a business, um, and, and as the time kept rolling on World War ii, Korea, Vietnam. That number has decreased to today. Today’s veterans who get outta service are less likely to create a business than they are to just go work in a big government [00:43:30] contractor or or go work at corporate.
[00:43:32] And that’s not good for our country because when you take away all these highly trained, highly disciplined individuals, take away from like good businesses being created. I’ll give you two businesses that were created by Vets, Walmart and FedEx Logistical Phenoms, right? So there are others like that, but those are the top two that I know everyone knows about.
[00:43:52] And a lot of people don’t know that they were created by veterans, and what they did was just took the stuff they did in the military and applied it to a [00:44:00] business and grew it into these massive corporations. Bunker Labs grew into this massive organization where it says, if you are a vet and you have an idea and you need a tribe, that’s what we used to call it a.
[00:44:13] That speaks your language and can help you think about what you’re doing, then we want to help you. They got a partnership with WeWork, but WeWork offered free office space to the veterans that were in the cohort. It was a six month cohort, and there was other veterans who volunteered that may have gotten out and got into entrepreneurial space, our investing [00:44:30] space, and were able to leverage their experience or their connection and teach these cohorts of new veterans who are trying to figure.
[00:44:37] and best part about Bunker Labs is you have nine other vets who will give it to you straight and they will tell you if your baby needs to be tossed off the cliff, they will do not care. If you gotta, like, if you get into the, the, the Bunker Labs cohort and someone thinks your idea is stupid, you need to be able to like, Hey, this is why this is not a stupid idea.
[00:44:57] Because like, like that is the stupidest thing I ever [00:45:00] heard. And what it does is it, it makes you think about how do. Communicate what my business is. Cause people told my business was stupid several times, like in my cohort and it just made me stronger, better. And it just allowed me to talk about what it actually is and what I’m trying to do.
[00:45:15] And it’s funny cuz I got one of the guys who at the beginning told me like, yeah, yeah, that’s real stupid what you’re doing to today. He’s like, man, I understand it now. It’s genius. But if he never would’ve did that back then, and that’s what Bunker Labs allows. A safe space with people who [00:45:30] experience similar lifestyles as you’ve been from military, military spouses, to be able to come together and just give each other the raw feedback that’s necessary to kind of push forward.
[00:45:40] But in the same token, they will go to all lengths to help you push your business forward.
[00:45:48] Dan: That’s awesome. And so let’s talk a little bit about fundraising. So what’s been the fundraising journey for the company to this point? Um, and if you wanna [00:46:00] flavor it a little bit, tell me about what you think the experience has been good, different, bad around being a black founder who’s raising.
[00:46:08] Anthony Gantt: It’s been a mix of all of ’em. So I started out where I, I, uh, all of the stuff that I was putting into like a 401K that the government has for as government employees, I tapped that out and put the first one, 80 200,000 of my own money into the company.
[00:46:21] Used it to hire a fractional this fraction or half fractional this to kind of like, I need to figure out what my strategy is and this is what a military is like. I want the strategy and the foundation before [00:46:30] I build anything. So my first year or so, while still on active duty, spending that money was like, let me get the foundation.
[00:46:36] I did crowdfunding through a reg crowdfunding platform on Reg cf, and the only reason I did that is because they started talking about this friends and family stuff, and I was like, what the hell are y’all talking about? Then I tell you it was in the military and I came from Miami, like I came from inner city Miami.
[00:46:51] I ain’t got no friends or family with no 10, $50,000 checks. So as a black founder, I’ll separate the veteran as a black founder. I don’t think [00:47:00] people from other groups understand the lack of resources, how they do. They hear about it in the news and stuff, but they really don’t understand, like those resources don’t exist.
[00:47:09] Just like at the whim for me to be like, Hey, uncles such and such an auntie, such and such, can I borrow like 700,000 k? I got this idea. And they be like, absolutely. I said, can I borrow $7 and the like, when you gonna pay me back , let alone talking about 120,000. So that’s a, uh, a unique experience that only people who come from [00:47:30] those backgrounds can experience it.
[00:47:31] That’s why I think the, uh, Latino, brown, uh, folks experience similar things cuz they’re going through similar struggles. Right. But the next thing I did was after I raised that, uh, rec cf, I went on pitch competition. I still do pitch competitions on if I get accepted to ’em and pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch.
[00:47:49] I heard, uh, one founder who doesn’t look like us, who like from a different background and he was like, man, you pitching too much? Like, uh, investors gonna look down on it. I said, I don’t care what no investor look down on. [00:48:00] I said, if the investor wanna look down on me pitching, then gimme some damn money.
[00:48:03] Otherwise, shut the hell up and let me do what I’m doing. I’ve gone on several pitch competitions, refined my pitch, and won close to $170,000 in pitch. So that’s another way I fund the company. And then always raising, but I, I’m in a seed round, a seed round equity. So talking to investors, it’s been unique.
[00:48:24] And what I mean by that is, this goes back to cultural confidence where you have veteran and [00:48:30] non-veteran now is. Black guy in America who should just be an American Right? Just should be an American. Especially after all I’ve done. It’s just, just don’t call me black. Just call me American. Cause I, and then I hate when people, uh, from other backgrounds, like, I’m a Italian American, just American, let’s just be American.
[00:48:44] Um, but that’s a different whole podcast. Not today, but when you get around older gentlemen of the Caucasian background, There’s sometimes a cultural difference to where they just like, I don’t know what you’re doing one in your military, then I don’t really know what you’re saying cuz I’m looking at you and [00:49:00] that’s not my flavor.
[00:49:01] And I used to get upset and they’re like, yo, is this dude just. Heisman because I’m a black guy and in my head I’m like, I’m a Marine. I will mess him up, right? But I would stay with more explicative and I had to calm down my marine, this cuz I wanted to kind of give some people some major pain. But I was looking at the uniqueness where they were looking at, uh, this guy, I had one, um, investor, mentor, or whatever.
[00:49:23] What he said was weird, but what he said was the realest thing I ever heard, and I appreciate him for saying, he’s like, Anthony, I’m gonna tell [00:49:30] you what old white guys like me are thinking, what is this black guy going to do and why would I waste my time with him? And I was like, damn, that was blunt, but I appreciate the bluntness.
[00:49:40] And he’s like, that’s not what I’m saying. That’s not what I’m saying. That’s what they’re think. He knows because he is sat in the rooms with him. He’s heard him say it, right? So I took that as like, okay, this is the intelligence that, this is information that I have to process and turn it into intelligence.
[00:49:55] What do I do with that intel? How do I react? How do I kind of build my strategy and operational [00:50:00] plan and then tactically go out through it? So what I did is got smart. I talked to my attorney, who is a military spouse, works at one of the larger uh, firms, DLA Piper. All she does is deals, deals, deals, deals.
[00:50:11] And I was like, Brooke, you see Series A all the way to IPOs. What do I need to do? And she was like, go watch Silicone Valley on H B O. I was like, what? I went and watched Silicone Valley. I binge watched it and I was like, I get it. What’s next? And she was laughing. She was like, you watched all of it. I just went That what episode?[00:50:30]
[00:50:31] But that taught me so much. After I watched Silicone Valley, I read Venture deals Be Smarter than Your Lawyer and an investor. And I got the first, I got the audio book and then it was so good and boring. I was like, I gotta read this cuz I don’t know what the hell they were saying. I need to see the words.
[00:50:48] So I bought the book and then I took the back of it, the glossary and just started writing all the definitions out like index cards so I can know the definitions. And then I started talking to other founders [00:51:00] who were successful at. Series A, series B and series C, and I tell them, don’t tell me about my pitch deck.
[00:51:06] Let me hear you how you raised with your pitch. And that triggered me to the language which they’re relaying to the investors. There’s a certain language that investors need to hear that will trigger them. It’s just like mating, right? If you’re courting somebody that you’re attracted to, you have a certain languages that you do for that person you’re recording that makes ’em go.
[00:51:27] So that’s why when people say, think about an investor as a [00:51:30] relationship or a marriage, what they’re missing is like you have to court them in the language that they will be responsive to.
[00:51:38] Dan: That’s a great insight, uh, unbelievable insight. I, I actually think it’s frustrating that we have to have a language, but you’re right in that it is more like courting.
[00:51:46] It’s not transactional. At the end of the day, you’re trying to get a transaction, but it can’t be transactional because it’s about somebody you’re gonna be connected to on your cap table for a while, and they’re gonna be, you [00:52:00] know, investing in you time and focus in addition to funding. I just wish it was easier cuz we don’t learn these things, right?
[00:52:07] This is why you had to go get venture deals and watch Silicon Valley. It’s not something you learn other places. So…
[00:52:14] Anthony Gantt: Now there is a lot of capital that’s out there. Like they say, it’s a lot of powder out there. And less of it is coming to black founders, even less to black women. What I say to that is, okay, cool, keep at ’em.
[00:52:27] What I learned recently from a, the [00:52:30] Kaufman Group with venture deals put out a beta and I think it was Techstars. They put out a course that I was a luckily enough to get information about register for, and took this course, six week course, blew my mind. One of the things that they said to think about.
[00:52:45] Turn the tables and ask yourself, if you were an investor, what would you want to hear from the entrepreneur To mitigate your risk and reduce your risk and like stress tests your company, like an investor. And then explain to them how you’re [00:53:00] gonna multiply their investment. Because the investor also has someone to answer to their, their LPs, limited partners who are investing.
[00:53:07] And then if you have something like, say you’re FinTech, find the firms who have FinTech companies or banks or whatever as LPs into that VC firm and say, Hey, if you invest in me, I can be a customer to your lp, which is like this flywheel. So now I look for investors. I’m like, who is taking money from teachers and policing firemen?
[00:53:26] And government employees. That is my vc. I’m going after. [00:53:30] And then the last thing is, one of the things that we don’t do as a people is we, we don’t like to bother people. Like, Hey, if I, I try to get at you and you don’t want to do nothing with me, then I’m done. I say, screw that. Be annoying. Right. I am emailing investors every week.
[00:53:44] They say they wanted the monthly uh, update. I said, nah, nah, nah. In the military we do daily sit reps. I’m gonna be nice and only give you a weekly sit rep. I have started weekly updates on the company and it’s little stuff. I’m going to do this, I did this and I didn’t do this because it was hard. Can [00:54:00] you help me?
[00:54:00] And I asked, are you able to help me? I don’t even sugar coat it. Oil. Can you help with this If you can co. If you can’t keep on the email. Some people unsubscribe, but they still get a weekly update. So I don’t know how that happens.
[00:54:15] it’s a glitch in the system. .
[00:54:17] Dan: It’s a glitch in the system. Yeah. What can you do that’s. But I love all that advice. That is awesome. Awesome. And that’s sort of probably that military resilience, right? Like you can sit back and say, oh, well, [00:54:30] or you can say, you know what? What I can control is this, right? I’m gonna show momentum.
[00:54:35] I’m gonna show velocity, right? I’m gonna make it. So I always tell founders, like the investors sitting there with a basket of No’s and they’re just waiting for you to say something. So they go, oh, I got it. Boom. And so you just wanna do as much as you can so they, oh, they can’t reach for it. Cuz you’ve already answered that question.
[00:54:51] Exactly. This has been awesome Anthony. So before we go, we always like to leave a, a call to action for the audience. What ways can we be [00:55:00] helpful to you or to atease? Anything that we can be doing to be supportive.
[00:55:05] Anthony Gantt: If you listen to this podcast, share it all your mediums, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, share it and tell people to go listen to it.
[00:55:13] As people listen to it, the interests of girls say, Hey, I want to see what atease is about. And the more clicks we get on the site, that potentially will end up being government employees, uh, first responders, teachers, nurses, and doctors are people who have short-term rentals. We’ll get our users from there, but like I said, share the podcast, [00:55:30] share the podcast with two people.
[00:55:31] If you can do five, you’ll winner. If you can do two, we’ll take.
[00:55:34] Dan: I love it. That’s a win-win for us, for sure. And do you wanna share your, your website or social handles?
[00:55:40] Anthony Gantt: Social handles is at underscore ease underscore rentals on Instagram and Facebook, and, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook is all at_ease_rentals On LinkedIn, it’s just atease on one word altogether, A T E A S E, and then my name Anthony Joe Gantt [00:56:00] Jr. On LinkedIn. So that’s where people can find me. And then the website is p c s atease. A T E A S E. People are like, why you always do “pcs”? That’s what they call it in the government. Permanent Change of Stations. So you’re doing a PCs change how you move.
[00:56:15] Dan: Very thoughtful. Well, this has been incredible. So first of all, I didn’t say it at the beginning, but thank you for your service, your extended service to our country, and uh, thank you for coming on the show.
[00:56:24] We, it’s been an amazing conversation. I really enjoyed it. Thanks so much.
[00:56:28] Anthony Gantt: Thank you. I enjoyed being here. [00:56:30]
[00:56:30] Dan: We’d like to thank our guest, Anthony, and our sponsor, the Entrepreneur Struggle Podcast. This will be our last episode for 2022. But don’t worry, we’re already planning for some amazing founders in 2023.
[00:56:42] Since it is our final episode of the year, I also wanna give a shout out to a listener who recently gave us a great review on Apple, the user Gokaimila wrote,
[00:56:50] “I listened to several episodes in a row while driving from place to place in the Bay Area. I loved how the host was able to draw out candid stories from the founders of both our [00:57:00] mistakes big and small, and triumphs big and small, and the folks who affected their journeys along the way. Most of all, I love the genuine compassion, interest, and respect the host had for the founders he interviewed.”
[00:57:12] Thanks so much, Gokaimila, and I hope I’m saying that right. That really means a lot.
[00:57:16] This podcast was produced by me, Dan Kihanya, with audio editing and production by We Edit Podcasts.
[00:57:22] Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, or simply go to founders on found.com/listento. That’s Listen [00:57:30] T-O. And follow us on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn @foundersunfound.
[00:57:35] Thanks so much for tuning in.
[00:57:36] I am Dan Kihanya, and you’ve listening to Founders Unfound.