G&W Portfolio Founder Feature: Julie Griggs, Co-Founder and CEO, Fourplay Social

Who is Julie Griggs?

Julie Griggs, Co-Founder & CEO of Fourplay, is a physician assistant turned entrepreneur. “I started my career at a Federally Qualified Health Center providing primary care to the medically underserved. And then, in an unexpected plot twist, I found myself as the Co-founder of Fourplay Social. Danielle (my best friend, co-founder, and fellow healthcare professional) and I realized that giving single friends the opportunity to experience dating together was the more fun, lower pressure, and *safer* way to meet new people. Our early adopters became Fourplay super fans and some of our biggest supporters. A nurturer by nature and passionate about making a difference, I earned my masters degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Rutgers University after earning a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University. I graduated as the recipient of the Dean’s Award of Excellence for Outstanding Service, an honor given to one physician assistant student in the program.”

What is Fourplay Social?

A social app where single friends team up, create a shared profile, and match with other pairs of single friends. Co-founded by a nurse practitioner and a physician assistant, Fourplay’s mission is to create a healthier experience for singles, physically, mentally, and socially.  

What inspired you to start your company?

Danielle and I never had any intention of starting a company, we were just hacking the system to solve our own problem (which was that we hated the dating apps, but felt they were a necessary evil if we wanted to date). We were busy young professionals with very limited free time, and we were sick of feeling like we wasted a night that we could have been out with friends for first dates that usually went nowhere. I also really disliked how unsafe I felt meeting strangers alone; I would never go on a solo date with someone I met from an app without my pepper spray (I still don’t). So we changed Danielle’s dating profile to “Danielle & Julie,” added photos of us together, and told guys to only match with us if they had a single friend they could bring along for a double date. The response we got from guys was OVERWHELMINGLY positive. We had so many singles telling us this was such a better way of meeting and that we should turn it into its own app. At first we laughed it out, but then my brother really started pushing us to go for it. We beta tested (or as we like to call it babe-a-tested) the idea by going on a double date with a guy we matched with who brought a friend. Truth be told, it was one of the worst first dates I’ve ever been on, but Danielle and I couldn’t stop laughing about it the entire way home… and then for days after. Even writing this now I’m chuckling thinking back on it. When we realized that even a bad double date with a friend was still so much better than a good one-on-one date alone, we knew we had something special and decided to launch our business (plus, we couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to start a company called Fourplay!).

What is the hardest part of being a founder? And what’s the most rewarding?

For me, the hardest part of being a founder is when I see a negative review because, let’s be honest, every company gets a bad review sometimes! You work so freaking hard, you pour your heart and soul, your time, your money, and your energy into building something you’re proud of you. You make tons of sacrifices…tons…and then you read something negative about your brain child and you can’t help but to take it personally. It really hurts! My advice to founders when they read a negative review about their company is this: 1) don’t take it personally and 2) take the time to find out why someone had a negative experience. We always do #2 (still working on #1) and when people are reminded that we’re also people, they appreciate that we cared enough to reach out, give us valuable feedback, and usually end up writing a more positive review.

The most rewarding part of being a founder is building a company culture that I am incredibly proud of. Not many people get to be employers, and it’s an honor I don’t take lightly. So many people dread work and it feels really freaking good to know that our team looks forward to it. We work hard, but we also laugh hard. We’re truly a team. Nothing is more rewarding than being told we are the best employers the person has ever had.

What is the most important life, career or startup lesson you’ve learned, and who (or what) taught it to you?

When I was in training to become a physician associate (PA) my dad, who has been practicing medicine for over 45 years, gave me the best career advice. I was walking out the door to my first clinical rotation and he said, “Remember, if you’re not having fun you’re not doing it right.” I tell myself this almost every day, especially on the days I feel beyond overwhelmed and stressed out. A lot of jobs are incredibly challenging, and the startup journey is ridiculously hard. If you can’t find ways to enjoy it then what’s the point? Our time here is finite, and I believe that while we have it we should make the most of it, personally and professionally.

What is one thing you wish you’d known at the start of your startup journey?

This is probably not the answer you’re expecting, but there’s nothing I wish I had known at the beginning of my startup journey. We knew absolutely nothing (literally nothing, we were a nurse and a PA who accidentally co-founded an app for singles) and it has been our greatest advantage. We’re the scrappiest, most out-of-the-box, and resilient founders because we didn’t know what to do, so we’ve hacked every system and paved our own road to success. Had we been more in the startup know, I’m not sure we would have achieved all that we have. I mean, you should see some of the ridiculous messages I have sent to people over the years, because I had no idea you shouldn’t do that. But you should also see all of the people I have in my network and who have invested in my company because I had no idea I shouldn’t do that… so I did it!

Anything else you want people to know?

It’s called the startup journey, but it’s really more of a rollercoaster. The highs are really high and the lows can be really, really low, but there’s one thing they both have in common: they’re temporary. Celebrate the wins when you have them, you deserve to. Learn from your losses, but then give yourself the grace to move on from them. Be present and enjoy the journey. And, in the end, if doesn’t turn out the way you were hoping, be proud of yourself for trying. It takes a lot of guts to go for it, and not everybody does, but YOU DID. That’s something to be proud of.

Why Graham & Walker Loves Fourplay 😉

We know being single right now sucks. Online dating is a chore, lonely, expectation-based, and often unsafe. Fourplay Social is an app that offers an alternative through double dating. Because Fourplay is focused on a dating mechanism (double dates), and not a dating outcome (partnership, hookup, true love), there are no expectations! The goal is simply to meet other pairs of friends and have fun together. Julie and Danielle went through the G&W Catalyst (Batch 1!), and we fell in love with their idea.

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G&W Team

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