This Week’s Startup: Robert Arenas, CEO & Founder of Gyminies
“And I remember one day, I sat and asked myself ‘How many success stories do I need to hear, until I make my own?’ And THAT is when I started Gyminies.” – Robert Arenas, Gyminies
I am going to try my hardest to express the excitement I have to be bringing you this episode today. It’s completely different to what we usually have on the show, so make sure you take note!
Here at Stage One Startup, we have had our eye on Robert for a while now after receiving a referral from Toby Dattolo who is the Senior Vice President at Fownders.
Gyminies is a health and nutrition Startup that creates delicious, eco-friendly paleo protein pastry recipes made up of…
I’m building up the suspense here. Cricket protein powder mix!
Yes, that’s correct, crickets. As in the insects you can hear late at night on a summers evening.
Now, bear with us on this one, you’ll hear more about the reasons behind this in today’s episode.
Robert is from a small town in Texas where most occupants strive towards a career in the oil and gas industry or what Robert refers to as the “blue collar” type of jobs. Having felt the responsibility to take care of his family, he decided to earn himself a degree in that very industry that holds his community together – so that’s exactly what he did.
After earning his process technology degree, he worked his way up the oily ladder.
During his day job, Rob always managed to maintain his side-hustles which included; selling second-hand cars on craigslist or selling gym supplements and even a shot at network marketing.
Rob truly dabbled in a little bit of everything.
Having a humble attitude Robert shared the passion and knowledge in today’s episode which we hope you feel just as much as we did.
Where Did the Idea for Gyminies Come From?
Gyminies are disrupting the way health enthusiasts are using protein.
They’re doing that by cultivating a culture of sustainability by introducing crickets as a healthy a sustainable form of protein.
The idea of Gyminies formulated in 2016 when Rob felt an enormous amount of pressure for supporting his family.
That’s when Rob realized that when he found himself chasing money, working 3-4 jobs, he ended up going 1 step forward and 2 steps back.
Robert began studying influential entrepreneurs and came the realization that they all shared a common trait.
They had an extreme passion for the industry that they found themselves and that is when Robert found that his entrepreneurial spirit began to flourish.
Having grown-up in a humble family of health enthusiasts, his passion began to unveil itself.
How could he bring an idea to the world which would show them the potential of a healthy lifestyle whilst enjoying the food they ate?
Thus Gyminies was born.
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Time Stamped Show Notes Part 1
[2:40] Rob gives us an introduction to his background and what his life was like before he started Gyminies.
[5:14] He tells us about the birth of Gyminies; what, why & how it was founded.
[9:30] Brad asks if Gyminies have any big competitors in the same industry.
[11:40] Greg asks how Rob went through the research phase of finding out which insects were edible and providing enough protein to use in his recipes.
[12:42] Rob talks us through the chemistry behind the making of the cricket protein powder mix. He talks about how they use those ingredients to make various other recipes such as cookies, muffins, pancakes, smoothies and more.
We got a caution email from Disney. It was scary.
[13:55] Brad asks where the name Gyminies came from and Rob talks about a scary IP issue they ran into with Disney in the early stages, leading them to change their brand name.
[16:25] Brad asks how Rob was funding the business and the process he took to find the right partners (in his case ‘Chefs’). Rob explains how he validated the idea by using a prototype to take to market to test the waters before going full swing into starting Gyminies.
[19:32] We talk raising capital from investors and whether that is on the horizon.
[21:20] Greg asks if all startups should seek investment to accelerate the growth of their business when the time is right.
[22:35] Rob talks us through the team behind Gyminies and who is involved in the business. He also elaborates on how & why he bought out his two original Chefs working with Gyminies.
[24:35] We discuss how Rob found Chefs to join him and what the contractual terms were (i.e. paid contract work, equity or royalties of recipes – as many of you know, nobody wants to work for free especially if it isn’t their own company!)
[27:10] We wrap up Part 1 to take a break before diving into Part 2 where we discuss why Rob chose to join a Startup Accelerator and why he chose Fownders.
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Time Stamped Show Notes Part 2
[28:00] Brad asks why Rob chose to go through a startup accelerator & Rob explains how he discovered Fownders including the process he went through to join them.
[31:00] Rob talks about how he had to have tough conversations with his Father about why he didn’t want to take the blue collar job route and why he wanted to go the entrepreneurial route
[32:00] Rob talks about his 26 hour drive from Texas to Newark, New Jersey to join Fownders and what was going through his head at the time.
[32:45] Greg asks what the next stages were once accepted into Fownders Seed2Scale programme. Rob explains how he instantly saw growth after a few weeks of being there.
The Fownders District is like a gravitational pool that makes you want to stick around.
[36:30] He talks about the vibe and culture of Fownders and what the environment is like. He refers to a ‘gravitational pool’ that makes you want to stick around.
[37:20] Rob describes how Fownders pulled his business apart with constructive feedback in the first week he joined.
[38:40] He advises Startups to enter accelerator programmes with no ego.
[40:15] Rob touches heavily on self-awareness and how it has helped him become the entrepreneur he is today.
[41:15] Greg asks about the people that Robert met and how it helped Rob level up with his mindset.
[43:15] Brad asks where Robert would like to see Gyminies in 12 months time. Rob shares his goals/milestones for Gyminies, plus his plans over the next few months with new product lines and more.
The Non-glamourous side of entrepreneurship SUCKS.
[46:00] Rob talks about how entrepreneurship sucks and how/why he is envious of 9-5 employees. We go on to discuss the non-glamourous side of entrepreneurship and startup life.
[47:45] Rob compares entrepreneurs to an orange (the fruit) and how the rest of the world are Raisins.
Where you can find out more about Gyminies or follow/get in touch with Rob direct
Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org
[49:00] He also gives details for a new project / side hustle that he has just launched called “U Buggin“. An online TV show where he interviews inspiring influencers to talk about their stories. BUT better than that, he challenges his guests to eat different types of exotic bugs. This is much like a bush-tucker trial for those Im A Celebrity: Get Me Outta Here! fans). All of which is topped off with a Gyminies special, cookie.
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Have you listened to Episode 3 of Accelerate Your Startup (S1)? Check out how Rebecca, CEO & Founder of Ment is disrupting the travel industry with new innovative mobile app.