From Scratch to Shark Tank: How GoGrow Helped Hidrent Build a Successful Startup

About Hidrent

Off-duty. On-demand.

As seen on Shark Tank, Hidrent is the only task-based online service that matches customers with off-duty firefighters.

Most firefighters work 24 hours on duty, followed by 48 hours off duty. Firefighters are uniquely qualified to continue serving their community during their time off.

Hiring an off-duty firefighter is mutually beneficial. This supplements their income and leverages their skills and expertise while you get the help you need from someone you can trust to get the job done right.

How did GoGrow help?

In 2020, Dave Heimbuch, Founder & CEO of Hidrent, came across GoGrow looking for developers to push his mobile app development forward. He struggled with his current app not working as expected, an issue that was costing him a lot of money in maintenance and bug-fixing.

Hidrent in ABC's show "Shark Tank", S13 E6

Problem

As soon as we started code auditing the existing app, we ran into many issues.

  • It was highly coupled and had many outdated resources and dependencies.
  • We lacked fluent support and direct communication with the original code owners.

Our most painful problem with the app was its dependency on a private external library that used to be open-source. This library was a vital piece of the entire project that we didn’t have access to.

The tech stack at the time was Angular, Ionic, Nodejs, and CassandraDB.

Solution

We presented Dave with two alternatives:

  1. Reuse the existing codebase, maintaining most of the code and dependencies. Choosing this option would imply a steep learning curve and require a decent amount of time decrypting 1000+ commits and “black box” dependencies.
  2. Rebuild the entire platform, web, mobile, and backend, as it would put Hidrent in a good position for the foreseeable future. Anyone taking over the app would have the ability to build on top of a fresh and cleaner codebase. This solution was best for the long run.

The platform wasn’t that big regarding features and screens, so we advised against the first solution. It was only suitable for a quick “band-aid” fix and would eventually cost more time and money.

After speaking with Dave, he understood that although it might take more time and resources in the short run, the second option would save a lot of time and money in the long run.

Process

UX/UI Designs

Since the UI and UX weren’t the best, Dave decided to craft new and fresh designs. We started working with an external agency in the discovery phase and posterior UI designs. It took a couple of months before we got the final designs and we could start the development.

New Architecture

We use React, React Native, and Ruby on Rails as our go-to tech stack for developing this type of project/MVPs. React and React Native are two of the most-used frameworks for web & mobile development. Ruby on Rails is easy and fast for developing small projects.

We chose Heroku as our server to avoid the DevOps headache. We deployed it fast and easily integrated it with our GitHub repository.

Finally, we used PostgreSQL for the database.


Final Product

At that point, we had a team of three developers working independently on the three sub-projects. We had weekly meetings to show the “sprint” progress and get feedback.

Once the project was released, around 3 months later, we provided ongoing support for new features and bug fixing.

The projects can be found here:

Shark Tank

Less than a year after we released the MVP, Dave and Hidrent were selected to participate on Shark Tank. We didn’t know when the actual episode would be live, but we had brand-new designs and features to build in just a few weeks.

We grouped up, brought more developers and a project manager into action, and we were able to make a huge revamp in a couple of weeks. Great kudos to the team working on this!

Dave Heimbuch, Founder & CEO of Hidrent

Today

After 2 years, we’ve continued working together on new and promising features. The platform is super stable. We’ve helped Hidrent save money in DevOps, maintenance, and User Management by changing the architecture, backend, and admin panel. All of this has led to high customer satisfaction.

We couldn’t be happier to have connected with such a great startup and be able to build the product from scratch, handling 20k+ active users.

If you want to know more, please drop us a line.

If you found this blog insightful and want to learn more, please do no hesitate to reach out

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