"It's our future, let's build it together"

5 Questions with Matthew Rideout

October 3, 2019

You’ve built an impressive background in digital marketing and software development. Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur? 

Matthew Rideout,
Founder of StrictChef, Owner of Rideout

I have always felt like an entrepreneur. From the time I was old enough to understand money and business, I wanted to be “The Boss” and to own a tech-based company (read: I wanted to be Bill Gates). As a kid, this started with lemonade stands. In college, I tried to create a better version of MySpace (lol).

My leap to being a full-time entrepreneur happened during the fall of 2017. I was employed full-time and working on StrictChef part-time, but progress was slow and I knew I needed to go full-time on StrictChef if I had any chance of bringing it to market. It took a year of working on it full-time to launch.

2. Tell us a bit about StrictChef. How does it set itself apart from other recipe-based apps?

For starters, I have an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis , which if left untreated causes painful inflammatory arthritis and will slowly fuse together your spine and SI joint. At the time, I thought “food as medicine” was hippie mumbo jumbo, but after joining an online community, I tried it – after two years, I was symptom-free! Changing my way of eating was extremely difficult, and it became my passion and mission to help others like me.

Enter StrictChef. We take dietary restrictions and preferences to the next level – no other app comes close to the control we give users. StrictChef is built on the premise that no two people have the same dietary requirements – we don’t group users based on similar needs. And we aren’t a tracker like other major competitors. If you eat the right foods, you don’t need to track anything.

How does your experience with Agile, LEAN, and Scrum inform and benefit your development of StrictChef?

They were critical in getting me to where I am today. The agile/scrum/lean software development philosophies are based on rapid launch, testing, and iteration cycles. The framework helps you stay nimble to feedback and focus. I started with paper sketch drawings, tested them with a target audience I built over Facebook and networking, and used feedback to eventually build interactive prototypes. It’s an approach that kept me on the right track – if someone had given me $100k to build my initial vision for StrictChef, it would have been a spectacular failure.

You were selected to participate in the 2018 cohort of the TopGun program. What were two important takeaways you learned from the program?

#1 – TopGun reaffirmed the need to completely understand your audience and customers before investing time in building anything, and to continuously reevaluate your product with customer feedback. #2 – TopGun illustrated the importance of storytelling and rhetoric. The way you tell your story has a dramatic impact on product acceptance and audience enthusiasm.

We are excited for your TechTalk at Central Maine Tech Night on October 10th. Can you give us a quick preview of what you’ll be talking about?

I’ll talk about my background and autoimmune struggles, my journey to found StrictChef, and the cutting-edge tech behind the app. From a “techie” standpoint, I’ll review everything that makes StrictChef function, but I also hope to paint a picture of everything that goes into launching an app – it’s so much more than code.

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Last modified: June 21, 2021

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