It’s not rare for romance to begin in the workplace. But a couple beginning their marriage by creating a tech startup? That’s a love story you don’t expect to hear every day. When Trustify co-founder and CEO, Danny Boice, met Jennifer Mellon (Trustify co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer), they initially had no plans to date, let alone build a family and business together. So how did their love story unfold? In honor of Valentine’s Day, we sat down with the Trustify co-founders to find out how these smitten and driven entrepreneurs make their business and marriage thrive.
How did you meet?
Danny: Not your typical scene. At Gymboree class when our 8 year old children were 3 months old.
When did you fall in love?
Jen: Danny and I had been friends for many years. We met when our oldest kids were a few months old in a Gymboree class. We were married to our former spouses at that time and we all were very good friends. He was separated for some time and then when my marriage fell apart, Danny was a good friend and asked me and my kids to join him and his kids at the park, for lunch, etc. so that my girls could be with friends who had gone through what they were going through. Danny had love on his mind, but I thought I would never date again.
Who made the first move?
Jen: After a few months, Danny asked me to join him at SXSW in Austin to network with other startup founders as I was pondering my next career move. He was speaking at the conference. I was so vehement that I would never date again, as I had a great community of friends, my children, grad school, work etc. and thought there wasn't any room for a man. Danny approached me as his hardest B2B or investor deal - he pursued and pursued until I could not help but fall in love with him. He was so kind and funny and had been my friend for so long. I finally stopped ignoring what I felt for him as well.
Is it strange to work with your spouse? What are the pros and cons?
Danny: When we were first dating, we would talk about how much we wanted to one day create a company together. We had started 4 businesses between the two of us, so it just made sense. But it was a dream we never thought would happen so quickly.
Jen: Working together is a dream come true. I can't imagine not building this without him. Being able to see each other throughout our days and solve problems together is the best. We work really well together. We have separate strengths and also respect the other's intuition, decision making, and intelligence so much it makes for the best business partnership. He is the smartest man I know. I love being able to see him do his thing all day. The cons are that we have not found a good balance of not speaking about work - pillow talk includes planning!
You have said before that the idea of Trustify came about during your honeymoon. How did your relationship inspire Trustify?
Jen: We knew that we wanted to do good. This company would be different. We took our experiences as serial entrepreneurs and non-profit executive and have built a company and team that is the best we have ever seen. We are changing an industry - but also changing lives with our pro-bono work and giving all of our clients peace of mind when they need it most. We believe in what we are doing and we have seen God's hand in all of it.
How is life as a blended family?
Jen: That is the most fun and craziest part of our life.
Danny: Running a fast-growing startup with 21 employees is cake compared to juggling the lives of our 5 children ages 9 months through 8 years. We have two eight year olds and two five year olds and no twins - so not a day goes by that we don’t laugh!
As a happily married couple who just celebrated their first anniversary, is it strange to get requests from other people’s spouses looking to investigate their own marriages? How does that keep you from being jaded about your own relationship?
Jen: No. Neither of us believed in divorce. It broke my heart when my husband decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. I think that having gone through such heartbreak and then seeing that my marriage to Danny was God's plan for my life, I am better able to empathize with individuals in these stressful, emotional situations. I also see that there is a light at the end of the sadness. My ex-husband is truly my very best friend.
Danny: You never, ever think you are going to be in a situation where you question your spouse, or have to deal with betrayal. When you are there it can feel lonely and scary and helpless. We’ve both been there. That’s’ why we wake up every day hoping to give people the peace of mind they need so that they don’t feel helpless. We give the truth so they can make the best decisions for them and their family.