Brittany Laughlin at gtrot

Image representing gtrot as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

Tenacity is a trait I admire.  I probably have never met an entrepreneur who doesn’t have tenacity as part of their character.  It maybe be required. I was at Fred’s Donors Choose meet-up this past week and had the pleasure of meeting Brittany Laughlin who is one of the partners at gTrot.  I love her story.

Brittany’s father was in the Navy until she was 5 years old so she spent her early years living in a variety of different locations.  They finally settled in North Carolina where her father built a business helping people who retired from the services enter private life.  And so, Brittany is a daughter of an entrepreneur. 

After graduating from NYU she landed a job at American Express in the small business division.  She knew it was a great start out of college but in the back of her mind she knew that she wanted to do something on her own.  She planned accordingly by saving money for the time when there would probably be no income coming in the door.  Putting away just a little bit ever week. 

Outside of her day job at American Express, Brittany attended events and took on freelance projects in the Green tech field..  What she found is that without  degrees in engineer or science, that there wasn’t a role for her.  Heavily male driven made her feel like a fish out of water.  So she left and began to figure out what rocked her boat.  Using Twitter, she began to follow steams of 10 different industries that might have been of interest reading 50 tweets a day from each industry.  Slowly she began to narrow down her interests to travel and tech.  She loves to travel and she loves tech so she found a way to meld those interests. 

Spending time looking at the travel sites out there she zeroed in on four that she thought were doing it right.  She started to comment and reach out to them as she used their site.  What worked, what didn’t, what she’d like to see, etc.  Eventually coming up with what she thought would be the type of site she would build. 

She found gTrot had many similarities to her vision and met with Zach Smith who started the company.  A half hour coffee turned into a few hours.  Brittany talked to him about her ideas and visa-versa.  Zach’s partner was going off to medical school and Zach asked Brittany to join him.  Over time, they became partners.  I like this too.  Zach let Brittany settle in until he realized she was the perfect partner.  Good business. 

gTrot is a travel site geared towards college students and students who have just graduated.  Built on top of Facebook and integrated into FourSquare. People are posting their favorite spots, places to stay, spring break, etc.  The travel space is not easy.  Most people only tend to think about traveling when they are going to travel.  GTrot is smart because they are geared towards a niche audience and through that they will create community around travel for the 18-30 year old generation. 

What I really love is Brittany.  She knew what she wanted and she went out and got it.  It took her some time but she had a vision of what her work world would look like. She wanted to work for herself, she wanted to be the master of her own destiny and she wanted to do something that turned her on.  Slowly but surely she narrowed down the opportunities that were right for her and went for it.  That takes tenacity.  Something we can all learn from.  Not only for recent graduates but for women getting back on the ramp.  Pick your point and move toward it slowly and surely, piece by piece, and eventually you will land somewhere in the area….and that can be the beginning of something new.



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Comments (Archived):

  1. Helene

    i love this post. what a great story. a good read for sam and zoe.

  2. Brittany Laughlin

    Thank you for the wonderful write up! I really appreciate you using your blog to amplify the stories of others.@br_ttany

  3. BB

    great post. i met her briefly at the meet up, and though i caught a glimmer of what you capture here, i had no idea about her full story. thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Gotham Gal

      great girl. smart girl. great story.

  4. RWK: disruptive tech/guerrilla

    Inspiring (and I’m a Dude).

    1. Gotham Gal

      tenacious men are good too.

  5. Mark Essel

    I just recently came across Brittany’s tweet stream and admired her entrepreneurial spirit as another local NYC startup fanatic. Enjoyed her background story and interview, such a generous post. Classy inspirational morning reading, thanks GG 😀

  6. atryon

    I’m excited to see Brittany profiled here and couldn’t agree more that see clearly as the “gene”. I am lucky to say we were colleagues at Amex, even though we didn’t know at the time, and are now colleagues in the startup world. Keep it up!

    1. Gotham Gal

      That’s so funny you were both at Amex together. I love that

  7. rebeccastees

    Since I started a program for my interns, I’ve been blogging about how designers start their careers. It was fun to see Brittany’s strategy.

  8. Sapna

    Amazing story of how visions can pay off. So proud of you!

  9. Tracey Jackson

    Great story. Exactly what it takes. Trouble is most people think it will all just land in their lap, visualize, think out of the box and take every no as a not now and keep on going. I love people like Brittany, even though I don’t know her. Thank you for sharing the story.

    1. Gotham Gal

      it absolutely does not land in your lap. you have tenacity too and it is awonderful asset.