Cohort Spotlight | Here Here Market
Introducing Here Here Market
Founders Disha Gulati and Nick Florek established Chicago-based Here Here Market to diversify the culinary landscape, offering an empowering platform aimed at highlighting underrepresented culinary creators. Here Here Market is a B2B2C online marketplace for food enthusiasts to discover and buy specialty products from chefprenuers, small batch artisans and local consumer products. We provide culinary creators a springboard to launch new products, build a global fan community and run frictionless operations. Here Here Market is focused on empowering a more diverse set of culinary creators, what they are building will provide an easier path to revenue for all chefpreneurs, especially underrepresented groups like female founders, black founders, AAPI founders, and other groups.
Connect with Here Here Market
In conversation with Here Here Market Founders, Disha Gulati and Nick Florek
How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
Both Disha and Nick have always been entrepreneurs at heart with a strong passion for disrupting the status quo. Each came to become an entrepreneur in their own way, but what they have in common is a runway of professional career experience and dedicated time learning the entrepreneurial ecosystem to best prepare themselves for this venture!
Disha: As former Director of Global Analytics at Mondelez, Disha gained deep experience in the packaged food world. She developed a passion for food and building, and while she loved Mondelez, desired to go out on her own. Her logical next steps was to build a network and learn the entrepreneurial ropes which she did as VP of Corporate Innovation at 1871, Chicago's center of entrepreneurship and innovation.
Nick has always had a passion for creating and been attracted to boundary pushing ideas. After spending a chuck of his career at Deloitte in Strategy & Customer Experience consulting, Nick also felt an internal push to venture out on his own. Similar to Disha, he found an adjacent opportunity first and build Gordon Food Service's corporation innovation organization as its head of operations. It's this experience that truly exposed Nick to the start-up world and prepared him for what venturing out on his own would mean!
Nick and Disha both met while Nick was at Gordon Food Service Innovation Organization (Relish Works) and Disha at 1871. Their professional relationship developed into a friendship and a passion that launched Here Here Market!
How did you learn about the Long Beach Accelerator and what attracted you to apply and subsequently join the program?
We learned about LBA from a cohort #1 alumnus, Nassim Abdi, who is the founder of Storybolt. Nassim significantly increased the maturity and focus of her business during the program and we heard nothing but great things! We felt it a bit serendipitous to learn about the program given that outside of Chicago, California buyers have gravitated toward our marketplace and the state has been on our target for early future expansion outside of Chicago. The LA area, and Long Beach in particular, have an excellent craft culinary scene making it ideal for our business model. We also were highly impressed by the quality of leadership at LBA, the connections & resources available, and the leading approach via public/private partnership that enables LBA.
What aspect of the Long Beach Accelerator Program have you found most valuable to the growth and accelerator of your company and why?
While we've derived value from all aspects of the program, we've been truly impressed by quality of mentorship and connections we've been afforded. Andrea and Janelle have taken the time to understand our business and growing pains, providing very targeted support and direction when asked. There isn't a problem we've had that Andrea hasn't said either "I know the perfect person for that" or "let me find you the right person". The mentors we've been connected with have provided us full focused attention and opened their networks in a welcoming and supportive way. And we've learned and grown from each and every conversation.
Have you reached any exciting milestones since joining the LBA?
Since joining LBA, we have our most successful sales month, blowing far past our projections for December sales (our first holiday season). This success tested the system and model, leading us to identify the most important areas to "scale-up" the business. And we've done just that by 1.) Creating more systematized and repeatable customer acquisition approaching, 2.) Enabling retainment and repeat purchase strategies, and 3.) and building a structured and scalable fulfillment capacity to provide our customers the best service possible.
What would you share with a startup founder that is considering applying to the Long Beach Accelerator?
Do it! The people you meet at LBA are experienced, intelligent, and genuinely invested in helping you grow and succeed. You will get access and support in helpful and deliberate way while exposing you to assistance you may not have even known you needed!