Josh Trimm began preparing for the iBucs Pitch Competition in early 2020, then lockdown happened and iBucs was canceled. Two years later, he came to the competition laser-focused on learning exactly what it takes to win. His web app, TrimYard, focuses on building niche software to help improve the efficiency and quality of life for lawn care professionals that have a small crew of 1–2 people. TrimYard InstaPay (Josh’s winning pitch) is an automated payment solution for lawn care providers to automate the billing process for mowing yards.
While we’ve had the honor of working with Josh Trimm throughout his entrepreneurial journey. You, however, may have just heard about him, and his awesome win in this year’s ETSU iBucs Competition. I thought it was about time to sit down and ask Josh a few questions to help introduce him, TrimYard, and give some insight on how he got to where he is.
Josh was born in Kingsport, TN, but describes his dad as a “gypsy soul” who moved around all the time between Charlottesville, Va and throughout East Tennessee. Josh never believed he was smart enough to be a computer scientist because school was a constant struggle due to the constant moves and his dyslexia. However, Northeast State Community College professor, David Blair, saw potential in him and simply asked Josh to trust him, while he enrolled him in computer classes. He says he’s thankful he did, (and we are too!) because the rest is history.
Josh began working on TrimYard in March of 2020. His initial research led to the discovery that there has been very little disruption in the lawn care marketplace, what we call a ‘blue ocean market.’ However, Josh states, “there is a reason for this: lawn care is a labor-intensive job so automating any of the services would require major robotics and AI innovation.” But Josh did discover other services that lawn care professionals needed — thus the birth of TrimYard InstaPay!
The initial vision for TrimYard, his goal was to create the ‘Uber’ of lawn care. Since then, he has pivoted to a FinTech AI-based solution for automating the payment processing and management for lawn care professionals. He did this because there are several players in marketplace that have received major funding over the past decade and still haven’t acquired a decent market share of the lawn care industry. This brought him to the conclusion that I needed to hyper-focus on several specific problems that the lawn care professionals have – billing, doggie bombs, and the weather.
“Persistence is the only thing that can get you through the development process. I learned early on that I needed to produce semi-working prototypes early to validate what I was building with the customer, but this is hard on motivation, especially if you are a solo founder. I have a customer base that isn’t shy, they constantly rip my prototypes to pieces – this is an ideal situation, nonetheless it’s still hard to stay positive through it.” He survived through this development/validation process by seeking mentorship from ETSU Entrepreneurship Dept. Head, Sonu Mirchandani, and our Director and Adjunct Professor, David Nelson.
He also states, “In technical terms, my development process has been iterative – not to be confused with Agile.”
So really, what does it take to win? Well, not to toot our own horn here but… well let me just quote Josh’s words exactly.
“FoundersForge Startup Bootcamp taught me the fundamentals of pitching, how to structure a pitch deck and validate a product. The Computer Science department at ETSU is a very rigorous program, not only in terms of understanding the technologies to create and validate software, but also requires students to understand how to communicate their ideas to others via PowerPoint presentations.
Late nights, early mornings, working when there is no monetary return, getting critical feedback on my idea and being open to criticism, getting out of my comfort zone, believing in myself, ignoring the naysayers and the list goes on. The main thing you need to know is to start now.“
The next step for TrimYard is to get InstaPay on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Josh plans on first completing the front end development of the app and validating the first iteration with customers, then hiring freelancers with the winnings to help build out the backend of the InstaPay app and the rest of the API.
Josh Trimm, will be receiving his Masters in Computer Science Information Technology May 6th, 2022. He also starts at Eastman as a Software Engineer on June 6th.