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Don’t listen to this week’s episode hungry because we have on two delicious guests! That’s right, this week we’re talking to Noobtsaa Philip Vang, the creator of Foodini as well as Elaine Chon-Baker, the founder of Mokja Ventures. You’ll hear more about starting an online restaurant and what anyone investing in hospitality should look for.
The Get Found Get Funded podcast is at the intersection of entrepreneurship and social justice where we focus on entrepreneurship as a possible path to wealth creation — specifically for Black and Latinx communities.
Noobtsaa Philip Vang left his career in engineering, to move to DC to pursue his MBA at Georgetown University. It was during this transition when he began to work on the idea of Foodhini. An online restaurant that provides undiscovered talented immigrant chefs the opportunity to prepare and sell their unique home recipes to the masses through online delivery and traditional catering. Since beginning operations in October 2016, Foodhini has worked with many different chefs and currently features chefs from Syria, Laos, Eritrea, Iran, and Bangladesh. Foodhini just recently opened their first food stall at Whole Foods in Foggy Bottom DC neighborhood!
Elaine Chon-Baker is the Founder and Managing Director of Mokja Ventures, a Washington DC-based boutique venture fund that invests in food entrepreneurs, innovative restaurant concepts, and hospitality tech. She founded Mokja Ventures as a natural outgrowth of her love for eating, drinking, and supporting start-ups and early stage ventures. Coming from the telecom and tech worlds, she immersed herself in learning everything about restaurants in the back office of her first investment. Elaine advises and mentors entrepreneurs in all sectors with launching and growing their businesses. She has been working closely with the James Beard Foundation’s women’s entrepreneurship programs for over two years. Elaine is raising her own creative entrepreneurs – a daughter and two sons who she is continually learning and growing with.
1:02 – Introduction
3:04 – How they got started
7:30 – Why food delivery?
10:10 – How did business school impact the conceptualization of the business?
12:23 – How, when, and why should you start raising money.
14:00 – How to tell investors what you need and how much money it’ll take
16:31 – Finding the first and right investor.
24:50 – Changing direction while sticking to your roots.
28:15 – Finding the right chefs and creating an empowering work environment.
31:14 – What Elaine looks for before investing.
34:38 – The risk of the food sector.
38:03 – Elaine’s advice for Philip.
42:17 – Using social media and building infrastructure.
47:50 – Transitioning from quick moving micro goals to slowly building larger scale goals.
52:07 – Getting women to think outside of the box when it comes to their food businesses.
54:14 – The impact of the non-alcoholic drink scene.
57:55 – Finding the strength to keep going through the highs and lows of owning a business.