Reneta Jenik, Foodom - Creating a private chef marketplace
"Our mission is to make dinnertime joyful, full of excitement . This is a $3 trillion market in the U.S. alone," says Jenik
Reneta has been in the high tech industry for years and knows its ins and outs. She started Foodom to solve an issue close to heart and could assist her family. She was building a solution for those who love to cook, also want to work in that industry, and for people who don’t always have the time, desire, or ability to cook. It's all about Passion! and this is something you don't miss when you speak to Reneta about Foodom. We believe that one of the most critical ingredients for a startup founder is passion. It's about solving problems you believe in, going big into finding a better solution, and using your passion to recruit others to your cause.
As part of the Female Founders’ program we have been running at StageOne, which has led us to meet over 90+ founders in the past two years, we've decided to introduce you to some of the founders we met from both Israel and the U.S. They operate in different industries and their startups' are at different stages, but they have all impressed us with their company, leadership, and drive. This program gives us the opportunity to keep in touch and maintain ongoing relationships with many of these founders. We can hear about their companies’ growth, connect to relevant investors, assist when we can, and have follow-up meetings to go over their progress.
Meet Reneta Jenik, founder of Foodom
Foodom was founded in 2020 by Reneta Jenik. The company launched its beta version in March 2020, a few days before the world shut down due to Covid-19, and is currently located in California.
Can you tell us a bit about Foodom?
“How many times did you find yourself asking ‘What’s for dinner’ at 6 p.m.? At Foodom, everyone’s private chef marketplace, we are connecting vetted chefs and busy families to cook once to twice a week in families’ kitchens, for less than the cost of DoorDash. Our mission is to make dinnertime joyful and full of excitement — every day, in every household, and travel rental. This is a $3 trillion market in the U.S. alone. Our public beta is alive in Los Angeles, the Bay area, and the greater Sacramento area, with a growing waitlist worldwide. We plan to launch and expand to new areas later this year.”
What inspired you to develop your idea?
“The main thing that led to building Foodom was my personal desire to have the right outsourcing solution for a healthy and tasty way to feed my family. I grew up focusing on career development and business; I never learned to cook and didn’t have the desire to learn, but I cared about healthy nutrition. After a long search, I found a young local chef who came to our home to cook for us, and she changed our life. One evening, as I was walking with our comptroller to our respective cars in the Intel parking lot, he was complaining about the time and his lack of time to cook dinner. I told him that, as we spoke, there was a chef in my kitchen, cooking dinner for the whole week. She will be done by the time I got home, and it costs me only $150 per week. He was shocked by the low price and made me realize that there is a huge untapped market opportunity here. But the thing that really made me quit my job at Intel and build Foodom, was when this chef left us for a month when she traveled to India. Our life collapsed without her, and I decided that we must have a platform with lots of chefs so that we — and other families — would never be left in the lurch.”
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced (if you have), regarding building a company as a female founder?
“I don’t look at myself as a female founder; I consider myself a founder. In my early days in corporate, I asked a female VP how she got to her role and overcame the glass ceiling. She asked me ‘What ceiling?’ She said that she had great sponsors who appreciated her work and opened doors for her. She inspired me to focus on what I want to achieve, rather than on potential limitations. I embraced this approach and shifted to focus on conscious leadership, working with mentors, sponsors and coaches to break my limiting beliefs to reach new heights, on both personal and professional levels. I am grateful for our wonderful growing team, experienced and well-connected investors and advisors, and incredible founding users, those who support our growth, so we can solve painful problems in an innovative way, and make the world a better place.”
What are the secrets to your success?
“I learned a few things early on in my life that changed the way I look at the world. I always loved writing, and one day, I picked up an Israeli women’s magazine, called Nashim. I loved each and every article; it was the best one I read so far. I saw the editor’s name in the magazine, alongside a phone number by her name. I don’t know what got into me, but I called her. She picked up the phone, and I told her what I thought about the magazine and thanked her. She offered me to write in the magazine, and this is how I became a journalist (as a side gig). I ended up getting a cover story and later writing a quarterly web magazine for Yediot Tikshoret. I learned from that that everything is possible with an open, positive attitude, and the courage to connect to people and ask for what I want. Surprisingly, most of the time I got a yes. I also learned to think big.”
What do you want to achieve next?
“I want to bring Foodom to achieve product-market fit and then scale it globally so as to create new jobs for people — including women and immigrants — improve people’s health and happiness and provide everyone access to affordable healthy food.”
What are the qualities of a good entrepreneur?
“A good entrepreneur is passionate, ambitious, and a visionary; they have the grit to persist, overcome challenges, quickly bounce back from situations, and learn from failures. They also need to be resilient, excellent operators who know how to get things done, are convincing, and able to move mountains. Thinking outside of the box is a given, as is the ability to learn new things quickly. Founders hear a lot of advice, and lots of different opinions that might pull them in different directions. They must stay centered, focused, be confident, understand business nuances, and keep driving to the next milestone, leading to the bigger vision down the road. They must hire the right people and let them do their magic.”
Yael Eckstein, Marketing Director at StageOne, started the Female Founders Office Hours program, in which StageOne Ventures is continuously looking to invest time and resources so that innovations get the support, networking, and know-how they need to receive funding. The program involves a one-on-one meeting in our offices with the fund managing partners and team, so we can connect, hear the company’s pitch, and obtain concrete advice, consult, and network.