Your favorite city's food delivered to your door
Every city in the U.S. has a favorite and well-known food. Whether it’s pizza, coffee, or chocolate…each one offers a unique taste and flavor that has become popular by the by its residents.
What happens when you move from that city but still crave those delicious foods? You sign up for GothamBox!
GothamBox is a California-based startup that delivers a curated box of the best foods from your favorite city. It not only fills your stomach but serves as a nice reminder of your city. Sign up for yourself or give as a gift!
Learn more about how GothamBox got its start from Co-Founder, Jonathan Chin.
What inspired you to start your company?
The GothamBox story is the combination of two fond memories.
East to West
Shawn, a Midwest boy, spent close to 5 years in the majestic and exhilarating city of New York. It was not the big lights and electrifying scene that intrigued him most. It was the unique local brands that were the extraordinary fabric to the city. Shawn grew so attached to the intimate coffee shops, the decadently rich chocolate, as well as enticing sweets that he never knew existed prior to coming to NYC.
He started a new life on the West Coast and was so heartbroken when he found that it was impossible for him to stay connected to the local brands that he had grown so fond of while living in NYC.
He vowed to find a solution to this major problem.
West to East
In almost a symmetrical move, I left my hometown of San Francisco to start college on the East Coast. My mother sent me care packages every single month to say that she loved me. Setting off to start a new life on the opposite coast was exciting but definitely nerve-wracking. Receiving these boxes was exactly the dose of home I needed to stay strong.
I wasn’t the only one who loved these monthly treats. The care packages became such a hit in my dorm that she started including special items for my friends. For instance at Christmas time, every single one of my friends received a miniature red stocking packed with candy. When Easter rolled around, my friends were rewarded with chocolate eggs. My friend’s mother even copied the idea and started sending treats to him too. I was sure to tax him heavily for copying by eating a significant portion of his box. I couldn’t help myself - his mother sent him some of the most delicious Japanese candies and treats.
Born out of a parking lot
Fast forward to Christmastime 2011. The concept of GothamBox was born in a parking lot in Palo Alto, just outside of San Francisco. Shawn and I started conceptualizing. After the fifth “wouldn’t it be cool if” and “yeah!” we pull out a pen and paper and started drawing up mockups of what the site would look like on top of Shawn’s trunk. Shawn wanted to help people stay in touch with their hometown favorites. I wanted to reproduce the fond experience of my mother sending me care packages.
GothamBox took the best of both of these passions. We offer the most delicious taste of your favorite city delivered right to you, your family and your friends. Every month, you’re reminded that home misses you or isn’t as far away as you think.
What problem does your product or service solve?
For people who have moved away from their hometown, it is nearly impossible to stay connected to their favorite locals brands. It is even harder for them to actually be able to keep enjoying these delicious products. We help you stay connected to your hometown or favorite city by including your stomach. GothamBox delivers a curated box of the best food from your favorite cities directly to your home, family or friends. Members receive monthly boxes full of great city treats such as San Francisco's Nana Joes Granola and New York City's Cafe Grumpy Coffee. For each box sent, GothamBox donates a meal to fight hunger in the respective communities.
What are your startup's three biggest challenges to growth?
Since we’re an early stage startup, we have a very limited marketing budget. Distribution is our first major challenge. Secondly, many issues and obstacles that we face everyday are not explained in school or in textbooks. A myriad of unusual problems pop up and it’s often difficult to solve right away. We can’t just google the answer. Additionally, unlike a steady job, your journey is very unstructured. It’s very hard to keep focused, on plan and to not lose faith.
How has the Startup America Partnership helped you overcome these challenges to growth?
Startup America is all about the network. They have pulled together an exceptional community countrywide of bright and enthusiastic entrepreneurs. This has been instrumental in solving all three of our biggest challenges to growth. Firstly, we’re able to share our launch as well as product releases with the community. This helps for spreading the message and grabbing the attention of new users across the country. Secondly, there are many entrepreneurs going through similar issues we are. We have people to reach out to for advice; we’re not going at this alone. Thirdly, Startup America has so many tools and resources to help you structure and make sense of your journey.
What Startup America Member Benefits have you used?
I’m pretty much reading content on the Linkedin group every day. I’ve used Share Your Launch and I’m very much looking forward to the new Corporate Connections tool.
Why should startups join Startup America?
Take a look at the three major challenges that we’re facing. If you have the same issues, then it’s more than obvious why you should join Startup America! I’m almost positive that your startup is going through these same obstacles.
What is the startup culture like in your City/State?
We’re blessed to have our headquarters in San Francisco. In addition to being my hometown, it’s a wonderful city to be launching a startup at the moment. There are so many brilliant, open-minded individuals working on fascinating projects. Being an entrepreneur is something that people love and are very willing to help out when they can.
What else should we highlight about your startup?
We take pride in not only satisfying our customers, however being impactful in our community. For each box sent, we donate a meal to help end hunger in the respective city. We are teaming up with local food banks in each city. In order to play on the healthy competition between rival cities, we double the number of meals donated to the city that scores the most points each month. This enables consumers, bloggers and city ambassadors to help spread GothamBox’s message while supporting their community.
Learn more and connect with GothamBox here:
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