If you have brothers or sisters you understand how serious the game of sibling rivalry can be. For the Pottinger’s, while there’s always a little friendly competition, these two thrive off one another (think Wright brothers, not the Corleones). We wanted to know how they’ve grown in the startup world, with and without each other, so we sat down with the duo to see how their stories unfolded.
Darren and Don Pottinger are GA Tech alums who entered the startup scene with a splash – making the top 4 at Startup Riot with Body Boss, an app allowing coaches and players to enhance and monitor athletic performance. “Darren dragged me into startups, I was in the corporate world as a consultant and didn’t feel challenged. He had an idea for an app so I jumped onboard,” explains Don.
“At the time we only had a web platform for Body Boss, so we would pick each other’s brains, working together on nights and weekends. We had a lot of good times and bad times – and tons of meetings with Daryl (Co-Founder and Head of Business Dev). After long coding sessions, I found myself wanting to do more with code, so I eventually turned to the startup scene and joined Big Nerd Ranch as the Backend Team Manager & Software Developer. I started building apps for startups as a full-time gig, working on Body Boss in my spare time.”
Once Body Boss was at a slowing point, Darren joined Don at Big Nerd Ranch as the Android Developer & Teaching Assistant. “We were working together at Big Nerd Ranch and grew from being hackers to craftsmen. We learned to craft code and software for our clients which was a great experience,” recalls Don.
“We can definitely be competitive, especially when we were younger, but now we recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Darren chimes in. “Don is cool, calm, and collected. He thinks about things on a broad level and tries to put structure around things, while I’m constantly bombarded by ideas in my mind and lean more towards the creative side. But I need his guidance and focus – we learn from each other that way.”
In 2014, the brothers diverged paths, leaving Big Nerd Ranch to take on different endeavors. Darren is currently working with Monsieur, an AI robotic bartender making delicious cocktails even the pickiest drinkers will enjoy (here’s looking at you, Bond). “We had our first deployment with my app Nov. 15 during the GA Tech vs. Clemson game. After scrapping old code and moving forward with the success of the new software, I was promoted from Senior Android Developer to Director of Software Development.”
As for Don, he’s seen equal success working with Kevy, an eCommerce Marketing Platform helping online store owners know their customers and help grow their revenue. “I was looking for my next position as a CTO and even though I knew Kevy wasn’t hiring one, I wanted the opportunity to work with David Cummings, so I interviewed anyway. Once I got in the door, I moved from Software Engineer, to Director of Engineering, to CTO, all within 6 months. It was a whirlwind – we went through a crazy pivot, rebuilding the platform from scratch and transitioning into an eCommerce model (check out a free trial of the launch). I led the development for this transition which was a huge undertaking but a great learning experience.”
While the Pottinger brothers don’t have any side projects up their sleeves right now, they’d love to build something from scratch together in the future. “We love talking startups and big ideas, many of which occur around the dinner table. Luckily our parents are used to it now,” Don chuckles. “We have conversations all the time about how to approach problems and recruiting – even interviewing the same developers which fuels our competitive side,” Darren adds. “With Don at ATV and me at ATDC we both keep an ear out about what’s going on. We have different views of the same startup world which is fantastic.”
We can’t wait to see what these fellas do next. Be sure to stay in the loop with their current projects: