Hi, I am Ryan Bednar, currently Director of Growth at '7 Cups of Tea'
As a child I wanted to make games so my dad, being a software engineer himself, pushed me into programming at age of 10. I started built websites for fun in high school and college. I ended up working in finance after college - after witnessing the firstdom crash I steered away from programming. However I was soon pretty bored and I quit after a year to work at a startup.
I hopped around a few startups in NYC as consultant and kept improving my skills as a programmer. In 2009, I moved to Philly to join a startup called Scribnia as its first employee, which we would later pivot into SeatGeek. I left after about year to start my own startup, and they've gone on to do really well.
I met Aaron Harris (now Partner at YCombinator) and Josh (Now VP of Operations MakeSpace) through Hacker News. Aaron wanted to chat about the idea he had. We clicked when we met and kept chatting for a few weeks and I then joined TutorSpree as a tech co-founder in 2011. A few months after, we got accepted into YC. YC was super stressful but fun. We decided to move the company back to NY after raising $1M. It was a roller coaster. One day it felt we were crushing it, and the next day it felt we were going to die. We raised a bridge round and created a marketplace for tutors. However we didnt control pricing, messaging etc. We soon moved to a tutoring agency model. Revenue started growing but it scaled to the limit of SEO. Google's Panda and Penguin updates hit us in 2012/2013 and cut our business in half. We had already raised $2M and had to take a call in pivoting or return the money back. It was a super tough decision.
After Tutorspree, I took some time off to travel, since I I didnt know what else to do. I started doing SEO consultanting for a bunch of YC companies. I helped about a dozen YC companies over a half year period and one of my clients was '7 Cups of Tea'. I was able to grow organic traffic for 7 Cups almost 10x in 3 months and I ended up joining full-time at the end of my contract.
From programming games as a kid, being a YC alum and founding a startup, raising millions of dollars, and helping lots of startups with growth - it's been one incredible ride. Happy to share my experiences. AskMeAnything!