Howdy

Hi everyone. December has been one of the most stressful months for me since founding Ryze. Let me tell you about it. 

Note: From Jan 4th till Jan 12th I was out with COVID. It was kicking my butt there for a few days. Sorry for the delay in getting this update published. 

Things We Focused on This Month

First, the big thing we were still focused on from last month was preparing everything to launch version 2.0 of our mobile app. We intended to launch this the week of Thanksgiving initially, but as with many overly ambitious and under resourced plans, we failed to hit that target. 

A few main things slowed us down. 

First, there were a number of delays in our development process, which we started to work on in September. Transferring knowledge and project access over from our previous development team to our current team, getting the new team up to speed on our product, codebase, and existing functionality, and working with the team to come up with concrete plans for exactly what would be in scope and out of scope for the Thanksgiving release took a lot more time than I had originally estimated. 

Secondly, there were a lot of unexpected technical issues we faced with new functionality in our system and app. In other words, bugs. The week we were pushing for that initial Thanksgiving release felt like a scene from Jumanji or something – bugs everywhere. Our developers Hanz and Glendon were amazing with their focus and dedication that week and in the next two weeks to help us spot, solve, and squash dozens of issues and final tasks for the release. 

Overall, for a first time founder and untrained designer (myself) working with two remote developers abroad with a 13 hour time zone difference, I’d still say we did a pretty damn good job designing, building, testing, and going live with something we can be proud of and that we’re confident will add value to our users’ lives. It’s certainly a huge step forward from 1.0. 

Of course, that’s not to say we don’t have a ton of work ahead of us. We’re about 1% down the path of our new product roadmap so many more design and development cycles to come. *gulp*

Another focus areas for the month included getting our financial house in order. John has been diligent in his exploration of SBA programs and some alternative sources of financing. We’re focusing just on finding some cash and staying small and quiet for as long as we can. This includes all three of our founding team picking up and working some side hustles, contract work, and secondary businesses. Also, our business bank Azlo is being shut down so we’re having to jump ship to something new there as well.  

Published Media & Links

Phil: Announcing the Launch of Ryze 2.0

Changes to be Made

With our development process, we’re iterating on streamlining our hodge-podge and often ad-hoc ways of tackling tasks. In an effort to more tightly track work, we’ve started using Clickup to manage dev sprints and the tasks associated with each. Looking to get better at this and add more order to the chaos. 

Goals For Next Month

For January we’re working to launch direct redemptions of rewards to over 80 different student loan servicers. Once this launches, finally, we’ll be able to truly be the app for cashback rewards to pay down student loans. 

We’re also working hard on distribution and market access, and John has been moving mountains to get Ryze in front of some very large groups and potential partners in higher ed and government. More to come. 

Outside of Ryze

Covid kicked my ass and it was a miserable week. For me, COVID was no joke and I know you’re tired of quarantine and staying in and all that but please, don’t get complacent with taking precautions. Sadly, I also lost an extended family member to COVID the same week I was ill. 

Other than that, we’re all three continuing to work very hard when we can and make sure our 2021 can be as great as it can. 

We all hope the same for your 2021 as well!

Happy New Year and lots of love, 

-Phil