Black entrepreneurs Joel Griffith and Maurice Bachelor are the founders of Bot-It, a website and smartphone app that uses AI to automate various online tasks. The duo started their startup after finding it difficult to book tee times during the pandemic.
“There was a huge interest in golf,” said Griffith, a former resident of Trenton, according to Trenton Journal. “Golf has exploded in popularity. As soon as they [tee times] were available, they were gone.”
“Other people said, ‘We need this [automated process] for sneakers, for concert tickets, for restaurants…’,” Griffith said.
As golf buddies who live in Los Angeles, they figured out that companies were creating Bots to buy up all the tee times and resell them online for higher prices. Creating Bot-It was their way of fighting back.
“If you need anything automated—booking time, dinner reservations, concerts, you set up a bot and the system will do it for you,” explained Griffith. “You don’t have to be on the computer at the exact time.”
The duo recently appeared on the entrepreneurial show “Shark Tank” to pitch their business to investors. They received a $300,000 offer from Mark Cuban and Michael Rubin in October 2023.
“I felt great,” said Griffith. “We were extremely happy. It’s really hard to get on the show. Once you’re there, the sharks can be sharks. We were lucky to be so prepared. We had all their questions answered in a timely manner.”
Explaining their appearance on Shark Tank and the investment they got, they noted that the process was vigorous and involved a lot of preparation.
“I was very nervous,” Griffith expressed. “My legs were shaking. Luckily it didn’t show on TV. They edited very well.”
“The biggest pleasure I got out of being on the show was showing people from my hometown [that] you can become something more. Go to school. Continue to grind. You can do anything.”
Becoming an entrepreneur has always been the dream of Griffith, who also wants to do something to help people. Although he was born in Trenton, he grew up in Mercer County and saw how several athletes came out of Trenton and Hamilton. Thus, becoming an athlete was common growing up but Griffith decided to forge his own path. Now, he wants others in Trenton to succeed too in entrepreneurship.
“I think Trenton is prime for a comeback,” he said. “There’s renewed interest in the city with the mayor being in leadership. Entrepreneurs and small businesses look at Trenton as a place to grow. A new housing development is being built. Trenton has so much potential.”
Prior to becoming a co-founder of Bot-It, Griffith worked as an account executive for LinkedIn, Snap Inc., Amazon, and TikTok. For other aspiring entrepreneurs in Trenton, his advice is that “keep going”.
“Being an entrepreneur, there’s a lot of ups and downs. If you believe in your product or service, keep up the good fight. Hopefully, you’ll find success.”