5 Lessons from Ooshma Garg of Gobble

On core competencies, your secret sauce, and more!

Hey! Justin here, and welcome to Just Go Grind, a newsletter sharing the lessons, tactics, and stories of world-class founders!

This Harvard-Founded AI Startup Grew 5x in 2023 (And You Can Invest)

Paywalls. They’re everywhere, with billions of readers hitting them every single day! Enter Zette.ai, an AI news startup transforming how we access journalism.

With just a click, Zette.ai lets you unlock articles that you find interesting—all while using AI recommendations to send the coolest content your way.

They’ve already raised a $1.7 million oversubscribed pre-seed, have 50,000+ readers with a 5x year-over-year growth rate, and boast top partnership deals with 110 leading publishers, from Forbes to Pulitzer-Prize winning news outlets.

You’re invited to join the journey: Just Go Grind readers can invest in Zette.ai before the public!

Invest as little as $250 in Zette on Wefunder before early bird terms sell out.

5 Lessons from Ooshma Garg of Gobble

In the eighth installment of my 5 Lessons series, we have Ooshma Garg, founder of Gobble, a company she sold for nine figures in 2022.

I wrote a deep dive into Ooshma’s story back in February 2023 and today I’m sharing some lessons from her journey.

1. Multiply Your Core Competencies

Having one might not be enough.

Sometimes it’s not enough to just have one core competency… you have to find innovation at the edge of two industries, and in our case, it’s food and tech. A lot of food tech companies are just tech and I don’t think that they were able to make it that way without bringing the food expertise in-house.

Ooshma Garg

2. Mission Over Ambition

It takes more than ambition to endure.

Ambition is very singular, mission is shared. Ambition is not enough. Mission is the strength it takes to get through the trough of sorrow and all the way to product-market fit. Mission is what I shared with these 10x hires who stayed with our company through all the ups and downs.

Ooshma Garg

3. Develop Your Secret Sauce

Sometimes, it’s the sauce itself.

There are a few companies in the space, Gobble being one of them, Daily Harvest is another one, that actually set up an innovative supply chain, and made proprietary IP in the food.

By putting in the upfront work and developing these proprietary SKUs, our secret sauce is the sauce actually.

Ooshma Garg

4. Keep Iterating Your Business Model

Ooshma tried four different business models with Gobble.

Marketplaces have a good chance of working with assets, like clothes or toys or an extra bedroom. It’s a bit more difficult of a nut to crack with services.

We saw companies like Homejoy or Exec not necessarily be able to work out all the logistics and similarily with Gobble, though we had a lot of chef talent, in our case just the standardization of spice level or portions or delivery times wasn’t something we could make consistent with such a distributed pool of chefs. So we had to pivot from a marketplace model.

Ooshma Garg

Ooshma even killed off a business model that was working, but not differentiated, before finding the right one.

I shut down that personalized dinner service and we were doing maybe like one and a half to two million in ARR, but it wasn't going anywhere. The food wasn't different enough.

When we had tested and R&Ded these prep kits, where people cook it themselves and feel like a superhero, that was magical in our testing and our customer visits.

So within 30 days, we just ripped the band-aid off, shut down that business. It was the highest revenue making iteration that we had ever built.

With every iteration, we made more revenue ultimately, even though we shut it down. Then on August 3rd, we launched this thing. And I emailed Adora (YC Partner) this long email of, "Here are the screenshots, here's this." And I was using her to hold myself accountable. I was like, "It's launched."

That was the best decision of our lives.

Ooshma Garg

5. Be the Last Person Standing

Outlast the competition.

Some people think that they have to win today or that they have to win tomorrow, but to me, winning and success is being the last person standing. It’s not being the best person today or tomorrow, it’s being the best person at the end of the day.

Ooshma Garg

BONUS: Make the Tough Decision

Even when it’s extreme.

“When our Series C didn’t manifest, we could have done one of four things - shut down the company, recap the company, sell the business for some version of an asset sale, customer lists sale, or acquihire, or try to turn the company around and operate profitably” said Ooshma.

She decided to completely cut her marketing spend, from around $1M per month to $0, and see how many customers would stay with them.

She had projections for multiple scenarios of what might happen.

Guess what?

The switch to profitability worked!

They ended up maintaining 70% of their revenue by the end of the year, showcasing just how loyal their customers were.

As Ooshma describes it, “We were generating cash every month and we basically raised a Series C in millions of dollars in free cash ourselves without diluting the company one bit.”

Insights from World-Class Founders

The world’s best founders are voracious learners.

I’ve seen it repeatedly in my 1,000+ hours of researching and writing about world-class founders in the past year.

Tobi Lütke, co-founder of Shopify, studies how great companies are made by reading biographies, describing them as “cheat codes” for his life.

Apoorva Mehta, co-founder of Instacart, said “Great founders are learning machines” and described how the more you know, the better decisions you can make.

Patrick Collison, co-founder of Stripe, and Christina Cacioppo, co-founder of Vanta, both have public reading lists filled with books.

It goes on and on.

You can avoid a lot of pain and discover a breakthrough from the right ideas.

Now, after a year of researching world-class founders, I’m sharing their best lessons in my Insights product.

Get insights on everything from customer acquisition to hiring to decision-making and more.

V1 of the product is now available.

Recent Founder Deep Dives

Want access to all founder deep dives? Upgrade to Premium.

Thanks for reading,

Justin Gordon

P.S. Interested in sponsoring Just Go Grind and reaching 21,000+ founders, investors, and operators?

P.P.S. Want to work with me 1 on 1?

What did you think of today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Join the conversation

or to participate.