What Is One Piece Of Advice You Wish You Could Offer Your Former, Expectant Self?
[Reneta Foodom, Founder] The most significant lesson I learned in my life is that I choose at every moment how to look at things, how to respond and how to navigate my emotions. Learning this changed my life, the relationships with my family and all other relationships. The advice I would give to my former, expectant self is to take full responsibility on what I do, accept people the way they are with and forgive, even when it’s painful. And add to it also love and gratitude, when you are ready for it.
You Left A Robust And Thriving Career – Over A Decade In Semiconductors. Yet, You Found The Motivation To Redirect You Passion, Energy And Smarts To Launching Foodom. How Did You Know It Was “time” To Move Into This Brave New World Of Launching And Running A Business? Any Regrets? Things You Might Do Differently?
[Reneta] In a strange way, it was like a pregnancy. In the “first trimester”, while I was still at Intel, I started to get the itch to do build something on my own. I looked around me to find inefficiencies and pain points in huge markets, something that will touch people every day in their life. One evening, I walked to the car with a friend from work. He was complaining that he has to cook dinner, and it’s already very late, and it will end up being another delivery dinner. I told him that I have a chef in my kitchen as we speak that cooks dinner for the whole week, she will be done by the time I get home, and it costs me only $150 per week. He was shocked and made me realize that there is something big here. I did a very long research on all the aspects of it, then it took me a long time to figure out how to built it. I did it before for others and felt that I was ready for the leap, to start my own startup. I saved enough money to be able to live 2 years with no income, and left Intel. I just had to do it, Foodom was growing inside of me and when the time came, I launched a no-code Alpha version to test if the model and product work. After 100 orders, I bootstrapped and invested in our MVP. The main 2 lessons I learned is that corporate jobs are always there, the door is open if you live on good terms and it’s easier to raise funds before you have a product in the market.
There Is So Much About Foodom That Strikes A Postive Chord And Thus Keeps You In The Success Lane. Through Your Vision, Foodom Addresses.: Personal Nutrition, Ease Of Use, Reduced Food Waste, Lower Food Bills, Convenience For Working Parents And More. It Is About As Close To The Answer To The Macro And Micro Needs Of Growing Families Have At The Moment. It Also Keeps A Population Of Talenting Chefs Working. Wow! What Are You Most Proud Of In The Way Your Vision Is Shifting The Food Realities Of Communities?
I am excited to create a wide variety of healthy and delicious food on our menu so that families can enjoy food even when they have nutrition restrictions, diets or allergies. More over, I personally believe in living healthy balanced life, and most of the dishes on the platform are designed to be healthy. We use healthy oils, and other ingredients to support this. What I am proud of is being able to support and boost people’s health and wellbeing, even if they don’t care about health. Our culinary executive and I had lots of passionate debates on what dishes to upload, should it be dishes that restaurants have on menus or dishes that my grandma and mom used to prepare. The outcome is that we have both, but we use healthy ingredients that the clients fully control and can customize it fuehrer to their needs.
My dream is to create many Blue Zones around the world, helping people live long and happy life, being healthy and vibrant centenarians. The path to achieve this is by healthy great food, sourced locally and naturally, connecting the community by creating jobs for local chefs and having them cook for families, and the families doing food pods with their friends and neighbors. We have a chef come over on Tuesdays to our home and I love having friends over to connect through food, try new dishes and take with them boxes of food home to enjoy it for a few days. Last but not least, moving the body, even if just walking to a few neighbors to pick up tomatoes and zucchinis for their next meal, will boost personal wellbeing.
You Work Long Hours And Obviously Pour Your Dedication Into All You Do. It Is A Huge Commitment, Yet You Look Stunning And Bring Smarts As Well As Humor To The Table – Day In And Day Out. How Do You Reset Yourself? How Do You Keep Yourself Rested And Well?
Thank you for your kind words! First of all, I eat Foodom’s food, and choose a clean diet, low carb and low fat. I prefer to eat vegetables, fish, and some chicken. To balance all this healthy, from time to time, I do eat a juicy burger with fries and I practice mindfulness and meditate. One thing I learned in the busy entrepreneur life is that the to-do list is endless and it’s important to put at the top what we care about most. I call myself a minimalist entrepreneur, focus on the most important things that will get Foodom to the next milestone, and the rest drop to the bottom of the list. Then I carve out time to have quality time with my hubby, kids, friends, and spend time outdoors over the weekend to recharge. I love forest and beach therapies, and if there is not enough time, than hot tub and sauna therapy are awesome too. For workouts, I love triathlons and before the pandemic completed half Ironman. My dream is to finish a full Ironman, and I am still trying to figure out how to do that, time-wise, maybe in a few years.
What Were Your Biggest Covid Learnings? Though Your Children Are Teens, There Is Still A Wild Amount To Do. How Did You Handle Being A Mother To Four During These Long Months? Did You Have The Benefit Of Days Off Or Even Moment To Rest? Did You Feed And Enjoy Your Friendships? How About Your Marriage? What Is Different About You Now?
COVID was a huge lesson for me in many ways. My kids are older and amaze me in how independent they are. They were able to adjust to the new situation relatively quickly and I noticed that they even saw some benefits in studying at home, a little less social drama and more focus on academics. The kids also developed their friendships with their friends through local communities online, which filled their socialization needs. Thinking about it, there was a lot of drama too, that they managed while being with Pjs.
The other impact was closed cafes at school and I left Intel so no cafeteria for lunch, we were on our own. I was even more motivated than ever before to get Foodom up and running faster so we can have lots of tasty food for the family, eating now at home breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Back then, when it started, I worked from home, I turned the laundry room to my office. After a few months of non stop laundry and the kids running into my office with random requests (mostly asking urgently for money), while I was on calls with investors, or in accelerators, I decided to move to a co-working space to have some piece of mind for a few hours. That worked out amazing, and I met one of our key team members in the new office. My husband kept on working regularly, very busy as usual, so it felt almost like normal days, other than being stressed when we ran out of toilet paper. Thanks to our kind community, we shared and helped each other with it.
The biggest impact on my life with the pandemic was launching our early platform for in-home chef services in March 2020, 3 days before the world shutdown. It was the one of the toughest challenges I experienced in my business life, but made a decision to keep on going, in a safe way, adjusting our operations to protect the chefs and clients and to keep on improving our product.
Thinking Back To Your Semiconductor Days, Was Your Biggest Challenge As A New Mother Working? If Not, What?
That was some time ago, and the main thing that changes once the kids are out in the world is that I never stop worrying about them, it’s like a switch that turned on and broke, no way to turn it off.
The main challenge was the sicknesses that the kids would pick up in day care/school and get everyone else in the house sick. I figured out a solution for that and once I started doing this, we all were less sick and if someone had fever, it happened on Friday evening or over the weekend (I consider this part as magic ;-)). What I did is give everyone in the morning a teaspoon of local raw honey (that is also great to prevent allergies) and if someone would get a tickle in the through, I would add a fresh lemon squeezed and drank along with the honey. Then, I explained the kids that we are all bionic, and heal super fast. We had a few books about the human busy and the immune system as well as a TV show that showed how the immune system works, and I told them that our immune system is very strong and heals fast. They believed me. Call it plassibo, but it worked. The only time I was down since I remember myself was after I got my 2nd COVID vaccine, for 8 hours!
Another big challenge was around feeding my family, especially since I care about healthy food. I never learned how to cook since my mom died when I was 12, my dad took over cooking and didn’t let me in the kitchen, it was his kingdom. As a young adult, I loved working and business more than cooking and you can see how the seeds of Foodom were planted in my life very early on. It was a struggle getting meals for my family, between my hubby and me, we shared the responsibility and it was chaotic, very expensive and wasteful. Lots of food gone bad and went to the trash. I hated seeing that, being a 2nd generation to a holocaust survivor, I raised eating everything from the plate and using all the food we have at home.
What Pro-tips Do You Have To Share With Other New Or Expectant Mothers?
Being a new parent or having a new child join the family is a stressful time, emotionally and physically. I strongly suggest to open up and take help with anything possible. The communities around us are support supportive, and services like Meal Train can change lives. Some have parents close by, some have friends, some might find volunteers to help out. I personally had family and friends help with laundry, grocery shopping and cooking.
The other way to reduce stress during this time and boost well being is to outsource. Later on in my life, I outsourced cleaning and laundry and today I outsource meal prep as well, with Foodom.
The other tip is to accept the “good enough”. Initially I thought that no one knows what’s best for my baby, and I need to teach everyone what to do and it has to be done in a certain way. Later on, I realized that I was controlling, and there are different ways to feed the babies or change the diaper or give them a bath. I learned to trust others and as long as there is no risk to the baby’s life, it’s OK to do it differently, even if I think there is a better way. This allowed my husband to create a stringer connection with the kids and improved our relationship during this time.
Who Was Your Biggest Source Of Support In Returning To Work As A New Mother?
My family, friends and the amazing day care I found were incredible source of support and also the company I worked for allowed a lot of flexibility and working from home. I trusted my family to take turns and help our both around the house and with the kids, and with my friends, we should take turns in watching the kids when someone needed the time off. It was still chaotic but knowing that I am not alone and have a trusted community around me made a huge difference.
Who Are Your Mentors? Who Do You Mentor?
I have a few amazing mentors thorough out my life: my god mother, a wise, kind and sensitive, she was my mom’s best friend, and took me under her wing as a young adult and as I turned into a mom. I have a mindfulness mentor that helps me remove limiting believes and fulfill my dreams, as well as a nutrition mentor that helped me loose 80 pounds and then was the first investor in Foodom. On the business side, I had amazing mentors throughout my life and now I have a few mentors that help with the startup, including conscious leadership through the FourthWave accelerator, and the lean startup approach with the Growth Factory accelerator. There is so much to learn and do, that I am lucky to have experienced mentors that shine the way.
I mentored people through out my life, such as women from Intel and other women I worked with, as well as earlier stage startup founders. In the startup community, the founders help each other a lot, being a few steps forward, is very helpful to pull up others. I appreciate the On Deck community, and made there friendships for life with other founders.
Fill In The Blanks:
As a working parent, I never expected parenthood would be so hard, my intuition didn’t work here and I had to learn how to become a parent and having a full time nanny and more patience would make it much easier.