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  • Writer's pictureAshley Rodabaugh

Dating An Entrepreneur with Tom Burden, Creator of Grypmat.

I met Tom Burden a few years ago in Columbus, Ohio while participating in a startup weekend. I, along with about a hundred other people, signed up to spend an entire weekend attempting to create a new business to solve for a lack of efficient and affordable public transportation in the city. In recent years with the popularity of shows like Shark Tank, the title of entrepreneur has gained more popularity as a career goal. But does it have the same popularity in the dating world?

Tom is the founder of a multi-purpose flexible tray that helps keep your tools in place called the grypmat. Click here to see more or order your own. In 2017, Tom brought his idea onto the Shark Tank tv show and made a deal with three of them. You can see his episode here.

When he first started his highest sales were in the automotive and airline industries. Since this pandemic, though, he’s had to pivot. Well his pivoting is on fire, because he’s been killing it this quarantine by selling a lot of his grypmats to law enforcement to use for disinfecting their equipment. They can toss their equipment in the mat and clean them. Check out more about the company and buy a mat at

Entrepreneur in the Dating World Could Really Mean Unemployed

Entrepreneur is the hot new title many people want to use to describe their work, especially with the popularity of Shark Tank. However, many girls have discovered the phrase is also used when men are unemployed and unsure of what they’re doing in the world. Tom, however, is the real deal. So if you see him on the app, you know you’re getting a legitimate entrepreneur.

                                                       Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Tom’s Dating Life Prior to Shark Tank

Tom was previously very Christian and focused on dating people within his religion. So he didn’t date as much during that time. He also focused on staying a virgin which is well liked within certain religions, but a lot of times it’s looked down upon in the modern dating world. People will often times judge those who are virgins as inexperienced or too clingy. So it was difficult for him to maneuver in the modern dating world outside of the religious community he previously stayed within.

Tom’s Dating Life Since Shark Tank

He dedicates his life to his company and making sure it’s a success. He compares it to being a mother of a child who often times has to cancel last minute when their kid is sick. This is usually a respected answer in the dating world and the date is rescheduled. For Tom, his company is like his child and if there’s a fire that needs put out, he has to remain there to handle it and make sure his company doesn’t go bankrupt and his customers are happy. Unlike the mother, though, his need to cancel last minute isn’t always received well by his dates. They tend not to understand how important his time is for his business.

People's Fantasy About Dating Entrepreneurs Is False

He believes a lot of people like the idea of dating a famous entrepreneur like Elon Musk, but can’t actually handle the fact the entrepreneur is always busy. He said most entrepreneurs want to find someone who they can come back home and relax with after a long day. They want the other person to help create a healthy work-life balance. He wants someone that is motivated and has their own goals but respects his dreams and allows him to focus on his desire to make a positive impact and change the world.

Sliding in The DMs After Shark Tank

He admits his popularity after Shark Tank did bring some ladies to the yard. There were several girls who slide into his dms (direct messages) on social media. He’s also had a lot of women who are very star struck by him. He even had a girl hit him up on LinkedIn. Apparently it’s not just for finding a job anymore.


Rejection At A Young Age

Tom admits that when he was in high school, he had a girl turn him down when he asked her to go to the prom with him. He’s now nervous around girls he likes and fears they may reject him, again. In the work world he’s shooting for the stars and has no fear of failing. I understand how he feels in this situation. I, too, was rejected when I was younger. I asked a guy out and he said no and his friend made fun of me for it in front of the whole class. You can read more about it in my book available on Amazon or by clicking here.

For all of you out there who have been rejected, don’t worry! You’re not alone! As hard as it is, it’s for the best. You’ll find someone who does want to be with you. Don’t be afraid to keep putting yourself out there!

Tom’s Dating Tips

  1. Learn to dance and have cool dance moves.

  2. Negging: it’s giving a negative comment to someone to get their attention. Something like, your shirt looks really nice it’s just like five other girls here.

For the record, I don’t agree with the negging. I would not recommend using that as a dating tip. I think it could really make some people mad and some people may walk away from you. As for the dancing tip, though. I highly recommend busting a move! Be yourself and have fun!

His final tip is for straight guys to go to gay bars, because there will be fewer straight men to compete with for the attention of the straight women there. So men, if you want less competition, I do think he has a point.

Thanks for reading and/or listening. You can also see the video version of our interview on YouTube or by clicking here.

Come back in 2 weeks and learn about what it's like dating sober. My friend Caitie talks about her own journey to sobriety and may teach you a few new things about having an Alcohol Use Disorder.


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