Valet Trash Pickup
KSU team has created an app for that
KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov 1, 2016) — On the surface, Tydee, a mobile app-driven valet trash pick-up service, is a simple business idea. But behind its utilitarian veneer is a combination of marketing prowess, understanding of marketing’s relationship to human behavior, applied technology skill and an astute read of the global economy.
Tydee’s CEO, 27-year-old Joshua Guilbaud, and partners Clark Williams and Desmond McCain started the company in 2015, as recent Kennesaw State University grads. McCain’s brother, Dontre, a senior majoring in math and computer science, also joined the enterprise as a programmer.
The company’s Uber-style approach to trash pick-up relies on an app available for download to Apple and Android mobile devices. Using the app, customers living in apartments can schedule and pay $10 for up to three weekly trash pickups from in front of their doors, avoiding the hassle of walking or driving trash to the complex’s dumpsters. They also can earn extra cash by doing pickups for their neighbors.
The concept originated with Guilbaud, who says it was no accident that he pursued a degree in anthropology as a way to propel himself into a career of marketing, advertising and business. He learned early that success in selling has a lot to do with the human dynamic. A serial entrepreneur, he sold candy on the bus in grammar school; and he burned CDs and repaired computers and gaming systems through high school.
“Anthropology is one of the core sciences behind good marketing,” said Guilbaud. “It’s very much tied into the decisions people make about what they like…why some people prefer Apple products over Android or why they may pay a lot more for a cup of tea at Starbucks rather than making it at home for a lot less. It’s contextually based on the psychological nature of humans, their behaviors, what they value, and their culture. All these things matter in the marketplace.”
The germ of the Tydee idea came to Guilbaud while living on campus and having roommates who never seemed to want to carry out the trash.
“I was always the person who had to walk to the dumpster because I just couldn’t stand the smell of rotting fish or anchovies from the pizza someone had the night before,” he said.
When he moved to apartments near campus, he experienced the ease of valet trash service, and he liked the idea.
Guilbaud met Williams and McCain, his Tydee partners, when he pledged Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. During his senior year, they convinced him that he needed to enjoy life as a college student more and take a spring break trip to Panama City — his first vacation since coming to Kennesaw State.
Tydee partners, from left, McCain, Guilbaud and Williams
“We were sitting around on the beach talking about our ideas for a business,” Guilbaud recalled. “We originally talked about getting high school students to start picking up trash at apartments complexes during the summer, kind of a way to keep them out of trouble and give them work experience. As we thought more about it, we concluded that you could democratize the idea and make it a service available to everyone using the phone.”
After graduation, Guilbaud headed to Dallas, Texas, to become one of 15 participants in a highly selective internship with the Marcus Graham Project, a national network of industry professionals working to develop the next generation of thought leaders in advertising, marketing and media. He was assigned to a team that developed an ad agency. His role was to develop strategy, help establish the brand and build a client base. A member of that team, Anthony Crawford, is now a part of Tydee’s management team.
Guilbaud left Dallas to join an advertising and creative agency in San Francisco, where he worked on social media strategy. On the side, he worked with start-up companies on strategy. All the while, he said, he was talking to his partners in Atlanta and working to design and develop Tydee.
Returning to Atlanta and a job as a content strategist in Coca Cola Inc.’s marketing department, Guilbaud and his partners moved towards finalizing the design of Tydee.
They launched Tydee in June 2016 and are now servicing more than 260 clients at apartment complexes from Kennesaw to as far south as I-20, including students at the Austin Residence Complex at Kennesaw State.
The three principals do all the pick-ups and, through a partnership with Ashley Cleveland and BrandUp Marketing, are working to expand their customer base. They place hangtags on individual doors at complexes throughout the metro area. They also are soliciting contracts with property management companies to make the service available to residents on an optional basis as part of their rent.
Though the business is time- and labor-intensive, Guilbaud said he and his partners can handle the work for now.
“It’s about efficiency,” he said. “Uber’s value proposition is the speed with which they can make a car appear in front of you after you press the button; for us, it’s more about affordable, efficient and reliable service.”
Proud that he and his partners are using their knowledge and skills to create their own opportunities, Guilbaud thinks what they are doing is the wave of the future.
“People are complaining about a lack of jobs, but there isn’t a lack of jobs,” he said. “There’s a lack of skills. A lot of people are not adapting to the way the economy is heading. Blue-collar manufacturing jobs have shifted elsewhere, and machines are taking over that work. If people don’t retool and learn the skills necessary to program the machines and be the ones designing the product and writing the code, they’re going to find themselves extinct.”
What does the future hold for this entrepreneur?
“I’ve got a lot of ideas, Guilbaud said. “It’s the nature of startups. It’s like a race that never ends. The future of waste management is turning trash into renewable energy sources. I think there’s something there for me.”
Photo by David Caselli
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.