San Francisco, CA
A loan of $10,000 helps me to purchase much-needed packaging equipment so we can expand production and capacity beyond San Francisco!
I was born in Iowa City, Iowa, which always surprises people because of my very Chinese name! (My parents made sure I never forgot my heritage…)
As early as I can remember, I’ve always yearned to cook. As a toddler I would beg my mom for a slice of cheese or a handful of cereal to “cook” on my toy stove. I got in trouble as an 8-year old when I cooked scrambled eggs on the stove without parental supervision. In high school and college I ran a small catering business and spent all my extra pennies on cookbooks!
After dutifully spending 15 years in the corporate world (10 years in the food industry, of course!), I took a deep breath in 2013 and decided to start my own small food company to help people snack healthier and fresher. It has been a thrilling, exhausting and humbling adventure. Most of all, I am filled with gratitude for the wonderful friends, customers and partners who have supported us with so much enthusiasm and generosity along the way.
(In the photo, you can see my high school pal Tina on the left. Tina joined Sprogs last year and keeps me going every day with her energy, work ethic and creativity!)
Sprogs is a San Francisco-based food startup creating the “fresh snacking” category. Our mission is to make fresh, wholesome food as convenient and appealing as traditional processed, shelf-stable snacks.
Watching my kids (and myself!) mindlessly munch on dry, crunchy snacks made me wonder: is food that doesn’t go bad actually good for us?
I started tinkering with our favorite fresh, homemade snacks and came up with Sprogs Rice Scooters, which launched in February 2014. All the recipes are gluten-free and use only simple, wholesome, FRESH ingredients. Rice Scooters are sold in Whole Foods and natural grocery stores in the Bay Area, and we also make home and office deliveries. So far we have sold over 200,000 Rice Scooters!
We will use this loan to purchase our first packaging machine. While un-sexy, this is tremendously important for our business because it addresses our top two challenges:
(1) Our products are currently 100% packaged by hand, which greatly limits our production speed and fatigues our team.
(2) Using a packaging machine will allow us to use stronger, more protective packaging, which will keep our product fresher for longer and allow us to expand distribution beyond our San Francisco base