November 6, 1989
- Known For:
The Bucket List Family
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Brigham Young University
About Garrett Gee
Garrett Gee was born November 6, 1986, in American Fork, Utah. He was the fifth of six children born in the Gee family. After his parents divorced when he was nine, he spent summers in California with his mom and the school year with his dad in Alpine, Utah.
According to Gee, his mom was very “glitzy and glamorous.” She hosted a travel TV show and preferred to travel with Louis Vuitton luggage. On the other hand, his father, an orthodontist, preferred more rugged hobbies like Civil War reenactments and cowboy activities.
When Gee was thirteen years old, he loved the game Tetris. After taking pictures of a very high score he set and submitting it online, Gee says he received a certificate in the mail declaring him the world record holder.
Gee attended Lone Peak High School in Highland, Utah, and was captain of the school’s soccer team. After high school, he spent two years as a missionary for his church in Vladivostok, Russia. In Russia, Gee met his future wife, Jessica Settie, who was also a missionary at the time. After their missions, Gee and Settie enrolled in Brigham Young University, where they began dating. They were married on April 25, 2009.
After their marriage, Settie finished her bachelor’s degree at BYU University, and Gee remained enrolled as a student so he could play on the soccer team. In his final year on the team, Gee was elected team captain.
Even after his entrepreneurial pursuits took off, Gee continued to play on the BYU soccer team. He explains why he kept with the sport, saying, “It’s really easy to obsess over a startup. I’ve seen people’s health tank, so soccer is a good balance because it provides good exercise.”
Garrett Gee had the idea for the app Scan when he first encountered QR code technology. He wanted to develop a business idea surrounding QR codes but had little experience with computers, design, or coding. So he decided to begin freelancing to develop these skills. His freelance work primarily involved developing and designing logos.
After developing his skills through freelancing, Gee also approached two other students at his university, Kirk Ouimet and Ben Turley, who were both seniors studying information systems. After working on app development for less than six months, Gee, Ouimet, and Turley released the app in January 2011.
The team’s initial goal was to make $5,000 and reach one million downloads within a year. Gee said, “At the time, $5,000 seemed a bit too lofty for my poor freshman mind to even imagine.” The app reached 2,000 users in the first day. The app continued to grow in popularity, eventually reaching the goal of one million downloads within three months. By the end of their first year, the app had 10 million users, which grew to 18 million by the year-and-a-half mark.
In 2013, Gee appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank, hoping to raise $1 million for the company, but none of the Shark Tank investors were interested. However, Gee raised funding from other investors, including Naval Ravikant, David Krane, Shervin Pishevar, Ariel Poler, Jonathon Triest, Chris Redlitz, Troy Carter, Jim Pollatta, and Lady Gaga.
Scan raised $1.7 million in an early round of funding, which later rose to $8.7 million total. A few years later, in 2014, Gee and his co-founders sold the company to Snapchat in a $54 million deal. The technology Snapchat acquired in the purchase became an integral part of the Snapchat app. The black dots that populate Snapchat icons, allowing users to find each other easily, are a result of the Scan acquisition.
The Bucket List Family
In 2015, a year after Scan’s acquisition, Gee decided with his wife to sell their belongings and travel the world. At the time, he remembered something Naval Ravikant, the CEO and co-founder of AngelList, said to him: “If you are young, one of the best things you can do is build a brand around yourself.”
Ravikant’s advice inspired Gee to build a brand around his travels. Together with his wife, they began documenting their travels through social media, YouTube, and a website, becoming known as “The Bucket List Family.”
Although traveling around the world can be expensive, Gee and his wife avoided dipping into the money they earned from the sale of Scan. They raised $45,000 when they sold all their belongings and decided to travel until that money ran out.
Gee says that around the time the $45,000 was close to running out, “Our social media began gaining enough traction that hotels, airlines, and other brands began working with us. At first, they were just offering us accommodations or flights in exchange for marketing exposure through our social media. But then, as our community continued to grow, they began paying us as well.”
When Gee and his wife began traveling, they had a two-year-old daughter named Dorothy and a ten-month-old son named Manilla. In 2018, their third child, Calihan, was born. The Gees run an Instagram account for each of their three kids. Dorothy’s page has 283,000 followers, Manilla’s page has 239,000 followers, and Calihan’s page has 283,000 followers.
The Bucket Family’s success on YouTube and social media earned them nominations for the Travel Influencer of the Year Award in 2021’s American Influencer Awards. While they did not win first place, they were finalists in the competition.
The Gees have traveled to 89 countries together and built a massive online following in the process.The Bucket List Family YouTube channel has 1.43 million subscribers  and their Instagram account has 2.6 million followers.
Garrett Gee’s other ventures include an eight-episode 2017 TV show called Discovering Routes. In the show, Gee travels with his sister to the Philippines to learn more about their Filipino heritage, ancestry, and culture.
Gee has recently been working on turning videos of his travels with his family into educational cartoons for children. He crowdfunded this project and was able to raise $10 million. Gee also published a children’s book in 2020 called There’s a Monster in My Crib.
Garrett Gee Today
After traveling with his family for three years, Gee and his wife renovated a bungalow in Hawaii, which is now their permanent residence. Though they have continued to travel frequently, the Gees wanted a home base. In his free time, Gee enjoys exercise and body-building. He says his philosophy on life is: “Pure intentions, hard work and being true to self.”
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