Passion-Filled Motivation for Start up Founders
This is an interview with Armand Bogdan and Ricardo, two entrepreneurs from the United States that founded a dividend tracking application called “The Carrot”. During the interview, we will ask them about their background, then about their current application and where they want to go moving forward.
(Ricardo) My name is Ricardo, I’m a software developer from Chicago. In the past, I started a digital design agency called Neutral Design Studio, and I helped start a small coffee shop in Champaign-Urbana called BrewLab Coffee.
(Armand) I am a recent college graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a major in Economics and a minor in international development economics. I’m originally from Romania but moved to Evanston,IL in 2008.
(Ricardo) Before Carrot I worked as a software developer and analyst at a construction company called Trice Construction. My job was mainly building software around productivity and product management.
(Armand) Prior to joining Carrot, I was a full-time student at UIUC. In the past, I’ve had internships ranging from logistics associate to project manager. One of the biggest projects I worked on was implementing a company-wide security keys database at Chicago Transit Authority.
The Carrot App is a tool aimed at making dividend investing easy and fun for many novice investors. This type of investing was previously limited to older audiences, but now the barriers to entry have been lowered, allowing a whole new class of investors to get in the space.
(Ricardo) The project initially started as a fancy spreadsheet that I used for myself. As I found my needs growing and changing I started experimenting with building a site that handles everything I need. Slowly scratching my own itch became what is now The Carrot App.
(Armand) I joined Carrot about a month after Ricardo had made the website. Browsing IndieHackers I looked at new startups that were located in Chicago and found Carrot. The idea instantly sparked an interest since I knew the hardships of tracking your dividends from experience. I signed up for the website and decided to send Ricardo a message, especially after I found out we graduated from the same university. Little by little we got to know each other more and I asked if I could join the team.
(Ricardo) Balancing growth and development is always a challenge. When you’re not coding you’re selling and when you’re not selling you’re coding. One of those things is always taking priority over the other so balancing the two is the hardest.
(Armand) As a new graduate that only had internship experiences at corporations, my biggest challenge was the lack of experience at a startup. Usually, in my past work experiences, I was given a set goal and I had to come up with the steps to get there. In a startup environment, there are many goals that need to be achieved simultaneously with no set guideline on how to get from A to B. Ricardo became my mentor in this process and would always share his past experiences with me to show what has worked in the past and what hasn’t. I was able to morph my technical experiences in order to better suit a growing startup.
We just launched so now we’re in the process of collecting feedback, doing a bunch of customer support, and we still have to keep growing and reaching out to more users. My main goal is to build the best possible product I can. When people use the Carrot app I want them to ask themselves “Wow, why hasn’t someone done this sooner?” By being maniacal about collecting customer feedback and constantly iterating I can slowly but surely build a product that people love.
This is our main homepage. A user can see the most important aspects of their dividend portfolio such as the portfolio yield, next payment date and your annual income. Carrot aims to make dividend investing as simple as possible thus we try to integrate easy to interpret visuals as the one above. This way you can see what assets hold the most weight in your portfolio.
The scenario builder is a great tool to answer any questions that a dividend investor might have regarding future investment. We understood how tedious it was for an investor to see where he should invest more money. The scenario builder allows the user to better visualize and understand where their money would get the most returns.
This was a really interesting interview with Armand and Ricardo, it was great learning a little more about what they did before, what they are doing now and how they handle the difficult steps toward building a great product. If you want to contact them please reach Ricardo and Armand here: