Ryan Diew ’17: The Colgate Basketball Alum Who Took a Dunk in the ‘Shark Tank’

RENAISSANCE+RYAN%3A+Ryan+Diew+%E2%80%9917+is+a+true+Renaissance+man%2C+balancing+his+love+for+sports+with+his+entrepreneurial+spirit.

Dan Martucci

RENAISSANCE RYAN: Ryan Diew ’17 is a true Renaissance man, balancing his love for sports with his entrepreneurial spirit.

Tate Fonda, Arts & Features Editor

Alumnus Ryan Diew ‘17 had just graduated from Colgate when he appeared on ABC’s reality series “Shark Tank” for his app “Trippie”, which aids travelers looking for a place to eat in the airport. Beyond “Trippie”, Diew now works as a full-time Partner and Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) with Base Ventures, a seed fund investing in technology companies. During his time at Colgate, he was a member of the men’s basketball team; today, he coaches youth in his hometown of Oakland, CA.

Diew’s app “Trippie” is available for free download on the App Store. Influenced by his concentration in Computer Science, Trippie’s development consisted of Diew’s code. It works like this: you get hungry at the airport, open up Trippie, and are met with walking time estimates to in-location restaurants. Further, Trippie provides opening and closing times for these businesses, at over 100 airport locations spanning internationally. Inspiration for Trippie struck Diew when he was traveling back to California from Colgate.

“I was traveling home between sophomore and junior year and I really wanted a sandwich in the airport,” said Diew. “I didn’t know where to go to get one — so I was like, ‘How can I find a Subway… a specific restaurant?’ There was no directory or online source, so I had to trust a random stranger with my bags while I went to go explore… I was thinking to myself that that shouldn’t be an issue.”

When Diew returned to Colgate, he brought this idea to the University’s Thought Into Action (TIA) Initiative, where he worked in a cohort mentored by Colgate alums. As his mentors, these figures collaborated with Diew to procure his final objective with Trippie; where Diew’s proposal began with an airport food delivery service, his development ended with a restaurant navigation tool.

“TIA helped me learn about the industry and make something that was tangible,” said Diew. “The [TIA] mentors helped shift my food delivery idea into an airport navigation platform.”

Diew’s pitch for “Trippie” earned him a spot on the reality series “Shark Tank,” reaching over one million viewers on YouTube. “Shark Tank”, as a series, is notorious for giving rise to an abundance of successful companies, including “The Original Comfy” wearable blankets, “Scrub Daddy” sponges and “Bombas” socks. In the series, a businessperson pitches their company to a panel of investors. A deal is struck if the equity in the presenter’s company is exchanged for an investment from the “Sharks,” or investors. Diew contended that his experience was both humbling and valuable.

“I didn’t get a deal — but it was a good experience for me,” said Diew. “Before ‘Shark Tank’, I had won every pitch competition I had ever done. The ‘Shark Tank’ experience gave me the hunger to keep building, and get to where I am today.”

Today, Diew describes his professional endeavors as a series of unfolding opportunities, with “Trippie” as both a reminder of his beginnings and a consistent presence in his professional life. His involvement with the seed-fund Base Ventures began steadily in their offices, where he would develop Trippie as he progressively took on more endeavors with the company. 

“Base Ventures allowed me to start working on Trippie as an Entrepreneur in Residence on their couch,” said Diew. “Then, they started asking me to listen to more pitches, and do deal memos, and do due diligence on companies; later, they promoted me to Partner. I’ve been there for about three years now.”

Through everything, Diew is characterized by his maximalist efficiency philosophy. As a student-athlete during his collegiate studies, he recalls the way in which his multiple interests could be pursued simultaneously. 

“You can always make time. You can stack processes; for example, I was on the bus going to away games and most people would sleep — that would be my time to sneak in a few hours of code.”

Diew lives his day-to-day life as an investing businessman with a vested interest in basketball. His story is that of a collegiate student-athlete who, through hardship and defeat, has paved a way for success.