32 Successful Entrepreneurs Disrupting The Food Industry (Examples + Case Studies)

Updated: November 19th, 2023
Start A Food Startup

Starting a food business can involve opening your own restaurant, bakery, food truck, cake shop, or even starting a business or blog online.

Other kinds of food businesses include manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. Food businesses prepare a wide range of foods such as snacks, sweets, and meals to sell directly to consumers and also include cafeterias at workplaces and similar facilities.

If you have a passion for food, starting a food business can be an extremely fun, challenging, and rewarding business venture.

Here are some real life success stories of starting a food startup:

1. KÜiK Meal ($144K/year)

Enric Miquel, the founder of KÜiK Meal, came up with the idea for his business after his brother introduced him to a complete powdered food called Soylent during his stay in Silicon Valley. Realizing the lack of such products in Spain, Enric saw an opportunity to use his company's technology to develop a complete and balanced meal replacement. Since its launch, KÜiK Meal has served 14,000 meals across Spain, France, and Portugal, and has gained world champion runner Ragna Debats as an ambassador.

How much they make: $144K/year
How much did it cost to start: $15K
Current team size: 6

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How We Crowdfunded And Validated Our Meal Replacement Product

KUIK Meal, the sweet and savory complete food powder company, crowdfunded €5,000 in 5 weeks to secure production of the first 400 units and has since served 14,000 meals across Spain, France, and Portugal with a 36% growth in revenue from the last 6 months of 2018 to the first 6 months of 2019.

About
Enric started KÜiK Meal almost 6 years ago
Revenue
Enric grew the business to $12K/month
Costs
It cost Enric $15000 to start the business
Read by 8,121 founders

2. Golden Root ($48K/year)

A Phlebotomist by profession, Andrea quit her job to work in many food startups, and her experience in the farm lit a fire in her to provide healthy food to people.

How much they make: $48K/year
Current team size: 0

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How Andrea Slinde Launched Her Own Organic Food Startup

Denver-based founder Andrea Slinde built her own organic food start-up, Golden Root, which sells trendy Turmeric Latte Mix online and now in 50 coffee shops nationwide, with an average monthly revenue of $4K, a long term objective of expanding into traditional grocery sales, and uses Shopify, Recharge, Mailchimp, Shipstation, and QuickBooks to manage e-commerce and finances.

About
Andrea started Golden Root about 7 years ago
Revenue
Andrea grew the business to $4K/month
Read by 5,689 founders

So... can you actually make money with a food startup?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

3. Ka-Pop! Snacks ($1.2M/year)

Dustin Finkel, the creator and CEO of Ka-Pop! and Awakened Foods, came up with the idea for his snack business after realizing the lack of genuinely authentic and delicious snacks in the market. As a certified personal trainer and nutritionist, Finkel wanted to create snacks that were both healthy and tasty, leading him to develop the Ka-Pop! line using 100% Ancient Grains and natural seasonings. Since its launch, the business has experienced impressive growth, with over 300% annual growth and projected annual sales of nearly $10 million by the end of 2021.

How much they make: $1.2M/year
Current team size: 50

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I Turned A Recipe In My Kitchen Into A $10MM/Year CPG Snack Company

Ka-Pop! is an Ancient Grain snack company that has grown over 300% per year, reaching nearly $10 million in annual sales by 2021, through innovation, passion, demos, social media, TV appearances, and driving relationships with retailer partners.

About
Dustin started Ka-Pop! Snacks about 5 years ago
Revenue
Dustin grew the business to $100K/month
Read by 6,189 founders

4. Love Good Fats ($36M/year)

Suzie Yorke, a CPG marketing executive and fitness enthusiast, came up with the idea for Love Good Fats after shifting to a high-fat, low-carb, low-sugar diet and struggling to find convenient snacks that fit her new lifestyle. Recognizing a gap in the market, she developed a line of delicious, healthy, and keto-friendly bars. Since its launch, Love Good Fats has achieved rapid growth, generating over $120 million in cumulative sales and expanding to over 10,000 stores in North America.

How much they make: $36M/year
How much did it cost to start: $400
Current team size: 20

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I Started A $36M/Year Healthy Snack Business From My Dining Room Table [Canada]

Love Good Fats, a Canadian-based family of food products, has already exceeded $120 million in cumulative sales and is one of the fastest-growing bar brands in North America, thanks to founder Suzie Yorke's mission to bring back good fats and say goodbye to sugar.

About
suzie started Love Good Fats over 7 years ago
Revenue
suzie grew the business to $3M/month
Costs
It cost suzie $400 to start the business
Read by 4,730 founders

So... can you actually make money with a food startup?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

5. CandyCan ($180K/year)

Krik, the co-founder and CEO of Protes Protein Snacks, came up with the idea for his business when he was in college and realized there was a lack of satisfying protein snacks like chips on the market. After leaving his corporate finance job and spending months perfecting the recipe, Protes Protein Snacks became the world's first protein chip and now has its products in over 10,000 retail stores nationwide.

How much they make: $180K/year
How much did it cost to start: $100K
Current team size: 2

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How I Started A Protein Snacks Company

An entrepreneur started a protein snacks company which launched six years ago and now has its products in over 10,000 retailers nationwide, through getting rid of their early mistakes, and looking to e-commerce for future growth.

About
Krik started CandyCan over 2 years ago
Revenue
Krik grew the business to $15K/month
Costs
It cost Krik $100000 to start the business
Read by 10,813 founders

6. EatTiamo ($120K/year)

Nicholas Figoli and his business partner Francesco Pelosi came up with the idea for EatTiamo while they were living abroad in Paris and missing the taste of authentic Italian cuisine. They noticed the lack of affordable and easily accessible Italian products in the market, especially in the US where the demand for Italian food is high. This led them to launch EatTiamo, the first subscription food box service that brings the best of Italian food directly to American families.

How much they make: $120K/year
Current team size: 5

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How Two Italians Started A Subscription Food Box Business

Italian food subscription box service, EatTiamo, delivers monthly boxes of carefully selected Italian delicacies to 300 American families across the US, with the aim of reaching a break-even point of 1,000 boxes per month by 2020.

About
Nicholas started EatTiamo about 8 years ago
Revenue
Nicholas grew the business to $10K/month
Read by 9,603 founders

So... can you actually make money with a food startup?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

7. Peaceful Fruits ($180K/year)

After serving in the U.S. Peace Corps and realizing he wanted to start a sustainable business, Evan Delahanty decided to launch Peaceful Fruits. He identified a lack in premium fruit snacks, focused on creating a product with a strong backstory, and started prototyping and manufacturing the snacks using a small dehydrator and commercial kitchens. Through digital sales and a successful Kickstarter campaign, Peaceful Fruits experienced steady growth, culminating in an appearance on Shark Tank.

How much they make: $180K/year
Current team size: 4

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Peaceful Fruits: Growing A Fruit Snack Business For A Good Cause

Peaceful Fruits, an award-winning for-profit social enterprise, sells organic, clean label, natural fruit snacks and has gone from $8,000 in sales in 2015 to $150,000 in 2017, employing 30 people with disabilities in their production facility and is an excellent example of a successful, mission-based business.

About
Evan started Peaceful Fruits almost 10 years ago
Revenue
Evan grew the business to $15K/month
Read by 7,698 founders

8. Kyra's Bake Shop, LLC ($768K/year)

After realizing the benefits of a gluten-free diet for her own health, Kyra decided to pursue her passion for baking and attended pastry school. She honed her skills and developed delicious gluten-free recipes, eventually starting her own bakery with a small investment of $62,000. Through strategic PR and saying yes to every opportunity, Kyra's Bake Shop gained a loyal following and continues to attract and retain customers, with an average monthly revenue of $120,000.

How much they make: $768K/year
How much did it cost to start: $62K
Current team size: 11

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How I Started A $120K/Month Business Selling Award-Winning Pastries

Gluten-free bakery, Kyra's Bake Shop, started with a home kitchen and has now grown to a 3,500 square foot flagship bakeshop/cafe and a second location, with a monthly average revenue of $120,000 from the flagship store, through prioritizing product quality and strategic thinking.

About
Kyra started Kyra's Bake Shop, LLC almost 15 years ago
Revenue
Kyra grew the business to $64K/month
Costs
It cost Kyra $62000 to start the business
Read by 5,741 founders

9. ChipMonk Baking ($1.08M/year)

The founders of ChipMonk, David Downing and Jose Hernandez, came up with the idea for their low carb, gluten-free dessert business after Jose, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, baked his own low carb chocolate chip cookies. Realizing the opportunity to fill a market gap, they started selling their cookies at local farmer's markets before scaling up production and launching their website. They have since raised $350,000 and are focused on building their own bakery and warehouse space to support future growth.

How much they make: $1.08M/year
How much did it cost to start: $5K
Current team size: 10

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How We Started A $25K/Month Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Desserts Business

ChipMonk co-founders built a mail-order bakery selling low carb, gluten-free desserts, making around $25,000 a month with growth through e-commerce, and plans to tighten budgets and conserve cash in challenging times.

About
David started ChipMonk Baking about 5 years ago
Revenue
David grew the business to $90K/month
Costs
It cost David $5000 to start the business
Read by 13,402 founders

10. janori ($36K/year)

Raphael and Johanna Spannocchi founded janori after realizing the flaws in the current food distribution system. They wanted to create a platform that connected customers directly with local food producers, allowing them to support small businesses and enjoy delicious, organic products. After launching in November 2020, their best-seller was the Christmas box, containing chocolates, sugared almonds, and more.

How much they make: $36K/year
How much did it cost to start: $10K
Current team size: 0

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How We Started A $3K/Month Local, Organic Foods Online Store

Janori, an online store founded by Raphael and Johanna Spannocchi, sells local, organic food and offers monthly food boxes with 80+ products from 14 vendors, with its best-seller being the Christmas box, and aims to create a circle of support for suppliers by focusing on the people and creating compelling content.

About
Johanna started janori over 3 years ago
Revenue
Johanna grew the business to $3K/month
Costs
It cost Johanna $10000 to start the business
Read by 4,577 founders

11. The House of Leaf & Bean Inc. ($360K/year)

After being diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and experiencing the transformative power of a healthy diet, Wen decided to launch House of Leaf & Bean, an organic restaurant and cafe. With a mission to make healthy living and healthy dieting accessible and affordable for everyone, Wen and her team started by experimenting with making fresh soymilk and tofu, and eventually expanded to offer a range of delicious organic plant-based dishes. The business has seen steady growth, with 80% of sales coming from drive-thru and in-store purchases, and plans are underway to establish an organic production facility and expand into wholesale and retail markets.

How much they make: $360K/year
How much did it cost to start: $500K
Current team size: 7

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The IBS Diagnosis That Led Me To A $30K/Month Fresh Plant-Based Food Restaurant

This case study follows the journey of Wen, the founder of House of Leaf & Bean, an organic restaurant and cafe, who left her corporate job due to her passion for healthy living and curing her Irritable Bowel Syndrome through lifestyle changes, and now serves fresh and organic meals to help patients reverse or improve their health conditions, with a goal to make healthy food and healthy living more affordable and accessible.

About
Wen started The House of Leaf & Bean Inc. almost 8 years ago
Revenue
Wen grew the business to $30K/month
Costs
It cost Wen $500000 to start the business
Read by 4,274 founders

12. ABS Protein Pancakes ($300K/year)

Ashley Drummonds, creator of ABS Protein Pancakes, came up with the idea while working as a personal trainer and wanting to provide a healthy and convenient meal option for her clients. After crafting her own protein pancake recipe, she began sharing it with her clients, who loved it and spread the word. With a passion for breakfast food and a desire to make a bigger impact, Ashley turned her recipe into a business, starting with taking orders manually and eventually finding a manufacturer to produce her product. Through social media marketing and a big boost from appearing on Shark Tank, ABS Protein Pancakes gained nationwide exposure and experienced significant sales growth. Ashley continues to attract customers through social media strategies, collaborations, and a focus on connection, story, and quality rather than seeing competition.

How much they make: $300K/year
Current team size: 1

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Launching a Healthy Protein Pancake Business

ABS Protein Pancakes founder, Ashley Drummonds, tells the story behind the growth of her business from making her pancake recipe in her apartment kitchen to an appearance on the US TV show Shark Tank and how social media has played a crucial role in her marketing.

About
Ashley started ABS Protein Pancakes almost 10 years ago
Revenue
Ashley grew the business to $25K/month
Read by 17,095 founders

13. Daily Harvest ($50M/year)

How much they make: $50M/year
Current team size: 360

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How Daily Harvest Earned $250 Million in Revenue in Just 5 Years of Business

Daily Harvest offers organic, clean, and fresh fruits and vegetables that are dairy-free, gluten-free, and gum-free, leading to its status as one of the fastest-growing direct-to-consumer brands in New York in 2016, making over $250M in revenue in five years.

About
They started Daily Harvest over 8 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $4.17M/month
Read by 815 founders

14. LEAN BENTO ($1.01M/year)

How much they make: $1.01M/year
Current team size:

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From Fat To Fit: This S’porean Taps On Data Analytics To Design Healthy Bentos

Lean Bento co-founders use engineering research to develop customizable menu combos for their 13-item healthy meal restaurant, which expanded to a delivery service for the entire island after only one year of operation.

About
They started LEAN BENTO over 10 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $84K/month
Read by 626 founders

15. Shake Shack ($740M/year)

How much they make: $740M/year
Current team size: 3386

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Shake Shack SuccessStory

Shake Shack went from a single hot dog stand to a global fast food chain with over 270 locations thanks to its fresh, high-quality, and delicious food at an incredible price.

About
They started Shake Shack over 20 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $61.7M/month
Read by 1,165 founders

16. Grain ($1M/year)

How much they make: $1M/year
How much did it cost to start: $100K
Current team size: 60

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This S’pore Startup Went Against The ‘Grain’ And Ran Cloud Kitchens Before They Got Popular

Grain is a Singapore-based food and beverage services brand founded in 2014 that uses cloud kitchens to provide wholesome nutritious meals, meal plans, catering services, packaged drinks, and more to their customers while offering a line of Marvel merchandise.

About
They started Grain over 10 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $83.4K/month
Costs
It cost $100000 to start the business
Read by 687 founders

17. Trini Pepper Sauce ($27K/year)

Mustafa Mannan, co-founder of Trini Pepper Sauce, came up with the idea after his family's pepper sauce recipe from Trinidad and Tobago received much praise from friends in North Carolina. To bring the sauce to a wider audience, Mustafa launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $32,000, enabling them to import the peppers, manufacture the first batch, and distribute the sauce domestically and internationally.

How much they make: $27K/year
Current team size: 3

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How We Started A Successful Hot Sauce Brand

Trini Pepper Sauce co-founder and co-owner, Mustafa Mannan, shares how he successfully imported and manufactured his family's unique pepper sauce recipe and launched it through a Kickstarter campaign, now selling an average of $3,000/month in revenue.

About
Mustafa started Trini Pepper Sauce over 10 years ago
Revenue
Mustafa grew the business to $2.25K/month
Read by 33,367 founders

18. Huy Fong Foods ($150M/year)

How much they make: $150M/year
Current team size: 38

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How Huy Fong’s Sriracha Hit $150 Million A Year In Sales — With Zero Marketing

Huy Fong Foods' Sriracha sauce, also known as rooster sauce, generates $150 million in revenue annually, accounting for 10% of the US market for hot sauce, despite founder David Tran starting out selling his sauces out of a blue Chevy van.

About
They started Huy Fong Foods about 44 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $12.5M/month
Read by 1,675 founders

19. Sienna Sauce ($192K/year)

How much they make: $192K/year
Current team size: 3

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15-Year-Old Entrepreneur Runs Her Own Sauce Business

A teenage entrepreneur's homemade chicken wing sauce, Sienna Sauce, has become a $192,000 revenue-generating empire sold in 70 US stores, through building a loyal customer base, starting small, and expanding to retail, marketing through branding, consistency and leveraging family support.

About
They started Sienna Sauce about 7 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $16K/month
Read by 579 founders

20. Pip & Nut ($12M/year)

How much they make: $12M/year
How much did it cost to start: $12K
Current team size: 30

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How I made it: Pippa Murray, Pip & Nut

Pip & Nut, a nut butter brand founded in 2013, is now present in 6,000 stores throughout the UK and Europe and has a team of 20+ people, all while dedicated to supporting local communities and reducing carbon print.

About
They started Pip & Nut over 11 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $1M/month
Costs
It cost $12000 to start the business
Read by 757 founders

21. Aybla Grill ($648K/year)

How much they make: $648K/year
How much did it cost to start: $20K
Current team size:

article

$54K/Month Food Truck Business

From Syria to Portland: How one restaurateur started with $20K and now runs a successful business with 3 food trucks and average monthly revenue of $50K.

About
They started Aybla Grill almost 20 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $54K/month
Costs
It cost $20000 to start the business
Read by 1,020 founders

22. FireCreek Snacks ($500K/year)

How much they make: $500K/year
Current team size: 2

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How FireCreek Snacks Found Massive Success in Alternative Retail Channels

FireCreek Snacks provides a healthy, all-natural snack with exceptional taste, made with pure and traditional ingredients, containing no artificial ingredients, being gluten-free, soy-free, MSG-free, and high in protein and low in sugar.

About
Dustin started FireCreek Snacks about 8 years ago
Revenue
Dustin grew the business to $41.7K/month
Read by 688 founders

23. Serenity Kids ($9M/year)

How much they make: $9M/year
Current team size: 33

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Serenity Kids Raises $3 Million To Grow Into A Leading Baby Food Company

Serenity Kids, a baby food company offering a balanced ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, raised $3M in funding and saw sales increase by threefold to $9M in 2020, becoming a potential billion-dollar company with a focus on healthier options.

About
They started Serenity Kids almost 8 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $750K/month
Read by 661 founders

24. Chandler Honey ($120K/year)

Tique Chandler, the founder of Chandler Honey, came up with the idea for her infused honey brand by leveraging her knowledge of beekeeping and her desire to make honey more exciting. She created interesting flavors and used bright branding to differentiate her product. In under two years, Chandler Honey is now in 150+ stores in Canada and continues to grow.

How much they make: $120K/year
How much did it cost to start: $50K
Current team size: 1

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How I Launched A Flavoured Honey Brand & Made $16K In 30 Days

Chandler Honey is a Canadian organic honey brand with unique flavors, founded by Tique Chandler. With only 2 years since incorporation, the brand is now in 150+ stores in Canada and brings in $10k revenue monthly.

About
Tique started Chandler Honey over 3 years ago
Revenue
Tique grew the business to $10K/month
Costs
It cost Tique $50000 to start the business
Read by 4,410 founders

25. Frag Out Flavor ($1.5M/year)

Patrick Flynn, founder and CEO of Frag Out Flavor, came up with the idea for his spice blends and BBQ rubs after returning home from a deployment to Afghanistan. His passion for great food and BBQ, combined with his desire to reconnect with the veteran community, led him to create a lineup of high-quality blends that have been loved by family and friends. With a strong focus on customer loyalty and giving back to the veteran community, Frag Out Flavor has grown to generate around $125K/month in revenue.

How much they make: $1.5M/year
Current team size: 1

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This Veteran Built A $1.5M Spices & Rubs Brand

Frag Out Flavor, a veteran-owned spice blend and BBQ rub company, generates around $125k/month and is backed by a loyal customer base while also giving back to the veteran community through various initiatives.

About
Patrick started Frag Out Flavor over 6 years ago
Revenue
Patrick grew the business to $125K/month
Read by 2,953 founders

26. Jaju Pierogi ($960K/year)

Jaju Pierogi, founded by sisters Casey and Vanessa White, started as a side project selling pierogi at farmers' markets and pop-up events. With a background in the corporate world and a love for their Polish heritage, they saw a gap in the market for high-quality, handmade pierogi. Fast forward to August 2022, Jaju Pierogi is now in multiple grocery chains and over 650 specialty independent stores, with a monthly revenue of $80,000-$100,000.

How much they make: $960K/year
How much did it cost to start: $3.5K
Current team size: 5

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Our Grandfathers Recipe Inspired Us To Start A $1M/Year Pierogi Business

Jaju Pierogi started off as a side hustle at farmers' markets and festivals back in 2016, and as of August 2022, they are in multiple grocery chains and over 650 specialty independent stores with a monthly revenue hovering between $80,000-$100,000.

About
Casey started Jaju Pierogi over 7 years ago
Revenue
Casey grew the business to $80K/month
Costs
It cost Casey $3500 to start the business
Read by 3,185 founders

27. Urban Smokehouse ($1.5M/year)

Andrew Buehler, founder of Urban Smokehouse, came up with the idea for his business after noticing the growing market trend and opportunity for online delivery of perishable items during the COVID-19 lockdown. As a foodie with a background in financial services, Buehler saw the rising demand for BBQ, a food that tastes great but is often inconvenient to make, and decided to create a digitally native BBQ brand that offers pre-cooked and sauced ribs that can be easily prepared at home in under 20 minutes. He launched Urban Smokehouse as a Kickstarter project and quickly surpassed his goal, raising over $30,000 in pre-orders.

How much they make: $1.5M/year
How much did it cost to start: $15K
Current team size: 5

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How We Hit Our Goal Within 24 Hours On Kickstarter And Raised $30K+ Worth of Preorders

Andrew Buehler launched Urban Smokehouse, the world’s first digitally native BBQ brand, through a Summer Kickstarter campaign, raising over $30,000 in pre-orders; since then, the company has achieved monthly sales of over $5,000 split between their website and in-person pop-ups and events, relying heavily on word of mouth and organic social media.

About
Andrew started Urban Smokehouse over 1 year ago
Revenue
Andrew grew the business to $125K/month
Costs
It cost Andrew $15000 to start the business
Read by 2,443 founders

28. Karachi Kitchen ($24K/year)

Sadaf, the co-founder and designer behind Karachi Kitchen Foods, started the business with her mother, a long-time chef and culinary instructor. They launched their business after collaborating on a self-published cookbook, which won a Gourmand Award. Despite facing setbacks due to Covid and learning about federal and state regulations, they have seen sales more than double since launching their online store.

How much they make: $24K/year
How much did it cost to start: $5K
Current team size: 0

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This Mother And Daughter Started A Side Hustle Selling Chutneys And Spices

Karachi Kitchen Foods saw over 200% growth in sales in the past year, offering seven different chutneys and spices, and plans to launch an online subscription box and publish recipes on their website in coming months.

About
Sadaf started Karachi Kitchen almost 4 years ago
Revenue
Sadaf grew the business to $2K/month
Costs
It cost Sadaf $5000 to start the business
Read by 1,717 founders