The inspiration for Gobble came from Ooshma Garg’s fraught relationship with food in college.
“I was missing all of these other emotional benefits that come with home cooked food,” she said. “So the first thing was fixing that for me with an entrepreneurial bent.”
Gobble, a San Francisco-based 15- minute meal kit delivery platform was founded in 2010. In 2022, the company was acquired by Intelligent Food for nine figures, making Garg the CEO of both Gobble and the health-focused meal delivery brand Sunbasket.
“I approached my problem not by learning how to cook and allocating all this time for myself which I'd love to do more of now,” Garg expressed. “But rather by automating a solution that would solve this problem, not just for me, but for everybody.”
Gobble started out as a marketplace for people to make their home cooked food locally and deliver that food to hungry buyers.
But unfortunately, Garg said, “there was a consistency and a scalability problem for this specific kind of marketplace.”
So, Gobble evolved — opening up its own warehouses and kitchens to “consolidate the consistency" in its business.
“We had to innovate not just in our supply chain and infrastructure, and also not just on the web from marketplace to subscription, which we did, because people eat every day,” Garg said. “That's why we went to subscription because we were looking to not just date you one night a week, but rather to be the definition of dinner in your household.”
The more Garg learned about subscription services and the intricacies of the marketplace, the more Gobble evolved. Gobble transitioned from fully cooked food to 15-minute dinner kits where each meal would be deconstructed into cooked components that can be easily assembled by anyone with even the most minimal cooking skills.
“Technically, the best food business ideally, should be able to feed you every single day, if not multiple times a day,” she said.
Even though starting a business and reaching your goals can be exciting, Garg said that the entrepreneurial journey can be lonely at times.
”That fire burns bright in you and it’s not necessarily shared long term with investors or employees,” she said.
At one point in her entrepreneurial journey, Garg only had $8,000 in the bank and an investor advised her to sell the business.
“I put so much weight on what investors would say, and their advice for me,” Garg said. “But we're the ones thinking about it day in and day out. So I think it is important to take the time to identify what's true to you, and then stand in your truth because everything else is just a detour, or a side show on your path to fruition.”
While this was a tough pill to swallow, Garg said she believed in the business even though everyone else lost faith in it.
“There are solutions,” Garg said. “There are numbers at which people will invest and you can eat your humble pie and go backwards if you believe in yourself and it's one step back, but it might lead to five steps forward.”
She stuck with her gut and it paid off.
Garg said that Gobble ended up raising a seed round, joined YC Combinator, then raised a Series A and B funding round. But as soon as they had the opportunity to raise a Series C, Garg admitted that she decided “to operate profitably and grow the business that way versus continuing on the venture path.”
”In the venture model of building businesses, you have to fit in that framework and operate the way that the venture firms want you to,” she said. “Otherwise logically they won't invest in you and you'll shut down.”
Whereas in a profitable business, she said “you can not only invent something new for the world, like your product or service, but you can invent an entirely different way of doing business.”
Despite all the hurdles and changes Garg experienced in her career, it has taught her that hard work will pay off.
“Part of competing with yourself and not with others is knowing that it might take longer, it might look different, but everybody can do anything,” Garg said. “It’s just about how much you're willing to put in and how long you're willing to stick with it.”
dot.LA Reporter Decerry Donato contributed to this post.
This podcast is produced by Behind Her Empire. The views and opinions expressed in the show are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of dot.LA or its newsroom.
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