Spoon Rocket | Anson Tsui

 

About Anson Tsui

Along with a nationwide push to eat healthier comes a new type of fast food- Spoonrocket. Spoonrocket is a company that delivers healthy, organic meals to your doorstep- for just $6.00 and in under 10 min. The concept came emerged as its founder and CEO, Anson Tsui, prepared to graduate from UC Berkley with a degree in Bioengineering. Now the demand for Spoonrocket is spreading like wild fire. Learn more as Anson talks about how his company came about and the secret to its success on American Dreams.

 

Interview Transcript of: Spoon Rocket | Anson Tsui

Alan
Welcome back. I’m here today with Anson Tsui. He is the CEO and the founder of a company called spoon rocket ants. And welcome to today’s show. Pleasure to be here. So answer what, what exactly is spoon rocket?

Anson
Okay, so spoon rocket. And the gist is $6 Organic meals delivered in 10 minutes. The whole purpose of this company, aside from trying to make money is to change the way that people think about fast food. I went to school in Berkeley, so we’re all about healthy eating and vegan even. And after learning of all the problems in the world where people are eating the wrong things, that’s what we’re really trying to do to disrupt people’s eating habits.

Alan
And seems like there’s a there’s a real trend for more organic foods today. Definitely what inspired you to be on organic.

Anson
It’s a pretty long story. But then basically, in the beginning, when I first was in college, senior year, I started my own restaurant, and it was selling really unhealthy food and people loved it. And we made money. But then, after doing a lot of research, I learned that all of this stuff is actually really bad. And why organic is better is because no genetically modified produce is it’s not as healthy and there’s pesticides and bad for the ground. And in the long run. It’s actually really, really bad. That’s why we’re moving towards sustainability.

Alan
So how many employees do you have? What geographic areas are you serving right now?

Anson
Currently, we have about 30 employees on payroll. We’re only serving Berkeley in Emeryville. But the goal is to do Oakland, San Francisco and Silicon Valley by the end of this year, which is in about three months.

Alan
And you’re your spin rocker? Do they come sit down to eat? Are you delivering? What’s your business model?

Anson
There is no dine in or anything. It’s all online or mobile. And then the high level concept is at the click of a button poof food appears. That’s kind of how it all works. So it’s delivered to your doorstep in 10 minutes. Well,

Alan
For six bucks or six bucks. 10 minutes and 10 minutes. Oh my gosh. And then so you have to put a restriction on geographic area then.

Anson
Exactly. That’s what we’re limited to Berkeley in Emeryville, but we’re expanding soon.

Alan
Give me an example. What are you delivering in six minutes,

Anson
or we sell two items a day. So the menu changes every single day. And then there’s always two items, one for omnivores and one for vegetarians. Oh, so

Alan
It’s a fixed menu. Then

Anson
It’s a fixed menu. Yeah,

Alan
There’s like, what’s today’s menu?

Anson
I haven’t checked out the menu today. But then yesterday, we were selling eggplant mushrooms, skewers over couscous. That’s our vegetarian. And then the omnivore one was like a gumbo over brown rice.

Alan
So about how many meals are you delivering a day right now?

Anson
About 1000 1000 meals a day? Yeah, we just started like three months ago. Wow. Wow. So

Alan
These, these 30 people are running? Yeah, face. Yeah,

Anson
It’s, we got a really big team. And they’re all very helpful.

Alan
Is it start for dinner or lunch or?

Anson
Where we’re open 11am to right now? Till 4am. But then the goal is to be 24 hours, because I think this is the future and we’re moving towards the Internet of Things where the internet is 24 hours. So I don’t see why we should we can’t be 24 hours.

Alan
You know, so later say you graduated from Berkeley about four years ago. Yeah. What What inspired you when you started out to do a business? Your major wasn’t business was it?

Anson
My major was not business. It was a bioengineering and engineering school is great. It teaches you a lot of things. It teaches you how to solve problems. But then, at the end of my senior year, I was just like, well, I don’t want to be an engineer. I hate this stuff. And then that’s when I learned like, hey, I really gotta follow my heart and do business because all my life my my dad’s an entrepreneur, his dad’s an entrepreneur, my mom’s dad is an entrepreneur. So we’ve just had entrepreneurs all throughout my family and, and that’s just what I knew I wanted to do.

Alan
So when you started out, did it. You know, obviously, it takes money to save money.

Anson
To be honest, in retrospect, I have no idea how we pulled it off. But basically, I just round out a couple of my fraternity brothers and we just kind of pulled together credit cards. I had a ton of credit card debt, and we’re just hey, let’s do it. Let’s start a restaurant.

Alan
I love to I love to go through this whole process of how you do It’ll pull this off. But you know that the millennial generation right now which you’re a part of, you know, a lot of people are coming out of school, they’re saying, yeah, there’s trying to find jobs are not easy. And so you’ve, you’ve kind of hit the button on the head about a lot of people are having to go out and start their own companies, and be creative in the process of by business balls, and I love to hear the process that you went through.

Alan
Welcome back and busy here today with Anson Tsui. He is a CEO and founder of spoon rocket, a state of the art restaurant, I guess it’s in the new generation of being able to deliver an organic meal to your doorstep in 10 minutes or less, for $6. And so you started this company how long ago? This company started only three months ago, three months, and you’re already doing 1000 meals a day? Yes, absolutely amazing. I want to I want to move into this. Y Combinator. are you affiliated with the Y Combinator?

Anson
Yes, we actually just before we launched moon rocket, we got into this program, that’s basically an incubator, and gives you the seed money and guidance to start a company. So they we got into that program, and then that’s when we, you know, they believed in so we just, you know, ran with it.

Alan
So they are the angel financing, then?

Anson
It’s kind of like a mini mini micro VC. But for the most part, I mean, it’s more like a summer camp for entrepreneurs. And these guys are they know what they’re doing? And yeah, yeah. So they’re really, really they’re actually it’s super hard to get and it’s only like half a percent good. And it’s harder than Harvard.

Alan
So let’s talk about this. You’re starting spoon rocket. Yes. And you need c capital. So somebody comes up to you and says, Anson, I would like to buy part of your company? How do you feel about that?

Anson
In the beginning, I would be I will take all the money I can. But now at this point where we’ve raised a bunch of money we have to be it’s very important to be selective with who you take on as investors, because they everyone can give you money. But then only certain investors have the know how have the experience to actually give you proper advice to grow your company.

Alan
So how did you hear Y Combinator?

Anson
Oh, I, I mean, I’ve always known I went to Berkeley, all my engineering friends know about it. It’s a big thing in Silicon Valley. So I just tried applying this was actually my third time applying. And we Yeah, so it’s really hard to get into and yeah, we actually got rejected, but then I kind of just played my strings and got really cool with the partners. And they were like, they changed their mind afterwards.

Alan
And and so, so how finally, what was your What was your strategy to? You got? You knew them from a personal standpoint?

Anson
didn’t. Okay, I went in for an interview. And then, and then they email me saying, Oh, we got rejected. So I emailed them back playing it super cool. And just was like, hey, it’s all good. That Well, I didn’t get in, but then you know, you’re a cool guy or whatever. And then they’re just like, call me the next day. Oh, we changed our mind. We don’t really do this. But wow. Yeah, it was it was truly a blessing personal approach. And yeah, exactly. That always works. What I learned is relationships is number one,

Alan
Is there is there a standard practice that they want to buy a certain percentage of

Anson
The computer is it’s a lot, it’s 7% 7%, they give you 17 grand, plus two grand for every founder for 7%. However, however, if you get in, you automatically get $80,000 and convertible notes uncapped. So basically, you get 100 grand for getting into.

Alan
The program. And then how quickly do you need to go through that money?

Anson
It doesn’t matter. But the idea is, after the whole program, there’s a demo day where all the companies there was 53 of my class that present to a bunch of investors, the best investors in the world. And then basically, you just want to prepare yourself for that day. So it’s at your discretion how much you want to spend. But then, pretty much the idea is at demo day, you’re gonna be raising millions of dollars.

Alan
I’m visiting here today with Anson Tsui. He is the founder the CEO of spoon rocket. Is the company new company organized a few years back up and burn Oakland Emeryville currently serving 1000 meals a day focus on organic and omnivore menu, right. And it’s delivered to your door in 10 minutes or less, or $6. And so we need to take a quick break before we when we get back I want to read more into the the pounding of spoon rocket. We’ll be right back after these messages.

Alan
I’m visiting here today with Anson Tsui. He is the founder and the CEO of spoon rocket and company located up in Berkeley and Emeryville. And they’re focused on organic meals or omnivore menu delivered to your door 10 minutes or less for $6. Currently, you’re serving 1000 meals a day. So we were talking about Y Combinator and that hard to get in. But you got in because you worked. You work this system. And it’s like I so believe in what you said about it’s all about the relationships it is you know, there’s a saying that your net worth is equal to your net work. And so when you learn how to network with people and hang with the right crowd, you can be enabled to get to the next level. So Y Combinator you got in? And how has that helped you what exactly they do?

Anson
It’s life changing? It’s absolutely life changing. For one, the guy who runs it, Paul Graham, he’s a genius. He’s one of the smartest guys I know. And he’s seen. He’s seen hundreds of companies, hundreds of the top companies. So he if you go to him with any question about what to do for your startup, he knows exactly what to do. Be. And on top of that he’s already played the whole fundraising game. He knows how to raise money. He knows how investors think it’s it’s like a, it’s an advantage that nobody else would have. And they want they want a board seat coming in, then they don’t they don’t take a board seat. Oh, yeah, not at all. So they just want to help. They just want to help startup. So

Alan
Would you consider Paul to be a mentor then to the business? Absolutely. Absolutely. Okay, so now, what has impressed you the most with Y Combinator now there is what type of it? What types of things that they give you advice. I know, I want this from the perspective of a aspiring entrepreneur. Oh, moving on in that millennial generation into the new frontier. And, you know what, what helped you the most and getting focused, and the business off the ground?

Anson
Right off the bat. They’re just like, hey, you’re in Y Combinator, and you gotta like, you gotta show everyone show the world what’s up, you got just move fast and hustle. So we didn’t even sleep and, and on top of that, there’s just like, this whole culture of everybody needs to succeed. Everybody’s ambitious. It’s, there’s a lot of pressure, but it’s very exciting. And it’s just amazing on top of the fact that basically just this badge of approval of Y Combinator will get you with meetings with Sequoia with general catalyst with SV Angel, all the biggest VC firms. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s fantastic.

Alan
So when the early days, you opened your door, you put up a website, you say, I’m spoon rocket, comm get your organic meal. Was it slow at first?

Anson
So this was only three months ago, okay. But yes, it was very slow. So our first day, we only sold one meal, and I was super depressed. I went to Paul Graham, I was like, hey, and we don’t we didn’t really sell anything. Maybe this idea. Isn’t that good. And he was like, He’s super sharp. So he’s like, yeah, how you guys know, this is a good idea, blah, blah, blah, it felt really, really bad. And then eventually, we just really stuck it through. And, you know, because we believe in our cause that we’re trying to change the world and the way people eat and fight obesity. So we just stuck it through and eventually, our sales just skyrocketed in three months.

Alan
What was it? What helped bring you back to a lot of customers?

Anson
How did the people okay, well, I mean, going back to Y Combinator thing, but one thing that actually spiked our orders was the Y Combinator by being a Y Combinator company. You get featured in TechCrunch by default TechCrunch their blog posts, and that day, we just our servers overloaded and a ton of people heard about us and ever since that day, like reporters I’ve just been trying to reach out to us and PR is huge. That’s like way better than any other paid advertising.

Alan
And so, so when you had this sudden demand, right, this surge, how did you handle that? Teamwork? One meal 2000s and three months.

Anson
It’s it’s tough. It was tough. I mean, I’m just very grateful for my team. We were very close. We talk every single day, and just really, we’re all trying to succeed. And I mean, that’s the bottom line. If you have a great team, you can do anything. And then

Alan
How do you have that team of 30 people divided up? Is it different shifts a day? Or do you get cooks in the kitchen, and

Anson
We have several teams, we have a, we have the operations team, which includes cooks, the chef and the drivers. And then we have the growth team, which is marketing and Mark Zuckerberg, our talk was basically saying how growth teams are the future of marketing teams. It’s basically a combination of marketing and bizdev. And then our third team is the engineering team. And what me and my co founder are kind of like the glue between all these three teams, that you mentioned Mark Zuckerberg, his name? Yeah, he spoke at Y Combinator every week. Basically, on Tuesdays, there’s a YC dinner where they bring famous people to come speak. Just to talk about their experiences. It’s all off the record, though. It’s all like, exclusive stuff. So it’s really cool.

Alan
That you’re you’re there to share ideas, then.

Anson
Yeah, basically everyone, there’s just to help each other and support each other. Yeah.

Alan
So what are your future plans is spin rock and how big are you going to be?

Anson
Well, we want to go nationwide, nationwide. The goal is I mean, the goal is to change the way people eat and think about fast food. So in order to do that we I mean worldwide even but the immediate goal is bay area than nationwide.

Alan
Johansson person believes that the cause is organic meals or omnivore meals delivered to your doorstep six bucks or less. Sign me up. I want to rent a franchise. I mean, what is your model? Is that a franchise model? Is it a corporate Amana, which you’re going to continue to fund through stock we want are you going to expand.

Anson
We want to do it all we want to we don’t want to franchise because we want to maintain the quality and ensure that this is organic. This is you know, hormone, antibiotic free and all that good stuff.

Alan
You have to put chips in a number of kitchens strategically located throughout the.

Anson
It’s true, but then our model is great, because we only need one kitchen for the whole bay area. So instead of having multiple jackin boxes in the city, we only need one per geographical region, which is actually really lean. We don’t have waitresses, we don’t have server stuff. And yeah,

Alan
Okay, quickly, we’re running up against a time here. That person wants to find more information on spoon rocket or order from you. Where did they go?

Anson
They go on spoon rocket.com Or they download the spoon rocket app on Android or iOS.

Alan
That you get at app on Android or iOS spoon rocket app, or spring find us spoon docket spoon rocket.com. Yep. I’ve been visiting here today with Anson Tsui. He’s a CEO and founder spoon rocket, a company that is launching the next generation of meals right to your doorstep. And so thanks for being on today’s show.

Anson
Thank you so much.

Alan
We’ll be right back after these messages.

 

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Anson Tsui on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
Anson Tsui

Along with a nationwide push to eat healthier comes a new type of fast food- Spoonrocket. Spoonrocket is a company that delivers healthy, organic meals to your doorstep- for just $6.00 and in under 10 min. The concept came emerged as its founder and CEO, Anson Tsui, prepared to graduate from UC Berkley with a degree in Bioengineering. Now the demand for Spoonrocket is spreading like wild fire. Learn more as Anson talks about how his company came about and the secret to its success on American Dreams.

Alan Olsen on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
Alan Olsen

Alan is managing partner at Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co., LLP, (GROCO) and is a respected leader in his field. He is also the radio show host to American Dreams. Alan’s CPA firm resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and serves some of the most influential Venture Capitalist in the world. GROCO’s affluent CPA core competency is advising High Net Worth individual clients in tax and financial strategies. Alan is a current member of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (S.I.E.P.R.) SIEPR’s goal is to improve long-term economic policy. Alan has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting and develops innovative financial strategies for business enterprises. Alan also serves on President Kim Clark’s BYU-Idaho Advancement council. (President Clark lead the Harvard Business School programs for 30 years prior to joining BYU-idaho. As a specialist in income tax, Alan frequently lectures and writes articles about tax issues for professional organizations and community groups. He also teaches accounting as a member of the adjunct faculty at Ohlone College.

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