August 7, 2013

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Provo Startup Proves to be Successful for Young Entrepreneurs

Rachel Madison

August 7, 2013

Provo – When Garrett Gee was just a 23-year-old freshman at Brigham Young University in 2011, he and two of his classmates created an app and started a company that now has more than 50 million users worldwide.

The company and app, both named Scan, was spearheaded by Gee, Ben Turley and Kirk Ouimet. Their No. 1 goal was to take the power of the internet and enable it in the real world using smart phones, Gee said. That’s how Scan was born.

Scan is an app that, once downloaded to a smart phone, can be used to scan barcodes or QR codes that will bring up more information for the user. The company also provides a QR code generator for people who want to create a personalized QR code for their personal or business website.

Gee said what makes his company’s app more unique than others is that the codes behind the app were built to allow for more expansion and the app was built to be simple, powerful and fast.

“Even though there were already a bunch of other QR code apps and websites in existence, none were quality enough to be the leader in the industry,” he said. “Even though we were young and naïve, we thought we could take over the [QR code] industry. We put out our first version of the Scan app and within three months we had a million downloads.”

After their initial success, Gee said investors from Silicon Valley began to reach out to them. Gee was busy balancing life as a college student and member of the BYU soccer team, but he made time to fly back and forth from Salt Lake to San Francisco more than 50 times in two months to attend investor meetings. The dedication paid off. About a year later in 2012, Scan had raised $1.7 million in seed money from Google and other investors.

“We’ve been growing the company ever since,” Gee said. “The app is available for iPhone, Android and Windows. Initially we just wanted to grow our user base and offered the app for free, but since then we’ve started to introduce better and more powerful features. Most everything is still free, but there’s the opportunity to pay to get the upgraded version.”

Scan’s main office is in Provo and its number of employees has grown from three to seven. Gee is still attending BYU and is working toward a bachelor’s degree in product design. He is also still playing for the Cougars’ soccer team.

In the near future, Gee said the technology behind Scan will take users to the next level.

“Traditionally, a user would scan a code and be taken to a website,” he said. “We’re now enabling people to scan a code to make a purchase. I used to be able to scan a movie poster and go to the movie trailer’s website, but soon, in one tap, I’ll be able to purchase tickets to that movie when I scan the poster. We will be able to store users’ payment information in our app so they won’t need to carry their wallets anymore. They can pay for things by scanning them with their phone.”

This technology is currently being used by beta users who are testing it for bugs, Gee said, but he expects it to be available to the general public before the end of the year.

For more information on Scan or to download the app, visit

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