Monday Motivation from Melisa Lin, CEO & Founder of Nommery

Mondays can be rough and, sometimes, we can all use some motivation. Our #MondayMotivation blog series brings you tips and life hacks from industry leaders and some of the most creative entrepreneurs out there.

We sat down with Melisa Lin, CEO & Founder of Nommery, a platform which, “connects you with the right people over shared meals and drinks. She discusses the magic to matching like-minded people, overcoming the challenges which can come along with fundraising and more.

What inspired you to start your business?
Loneliness was Nommery’s impetus. When I first moved to San Francisco, I was lonely and eager to build my network. I also wanted to try all the best restaurants in town, so I founded the San Francisco Foodies on Meetup and started dining with strangers. I had so much fun meeting fascinating people over delicious meals that I took all my vacations to fly to cities across America to dine with new friends. We now have 30,000 Foodies in our Meetup groups spanning 14 cities across the U.S.

As I was sharing hundreds of meals with thousands of people, I noticed members meeting over meals and going on to travel the world together, help each other find their next jobs, and even getting married. I decided to build a platform, Nommery, to connect the right people to build meaningful relationships over delicious meals. Luckily, I had met the CTO of Coffee Meets Bagel through SF Foodies, and he joined Nommery’s founding team to bring our dream to life.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Our biggest challenge has been fundraising. Nommery has been generating revenue since we launched our site, and while growing 50% month-over-month in gross revenue, we took dozens of meetings with VCs for our seed round. Unfortunately, the feedback we received was to come back when we hit $50k in monthly gross revenue. One VC told us we should hit $300k/month before his firm would consider investing in our seed round. Fortunately, we have been able to raise some funding from our own users who’ve found Nommery to be the easiest way to meet new friends.

What’s been the greatest reward?
The greatest reward is seeing life-changing relationships form over Nommery meals. It’s magical when the right people meet and hit it off.

What is the biggest thing you’d like to see changed in your industry, and how are you working toward making that change happen?
We’d like to see more social networks focused on connecting people in real life rather than online. To that end, we’re onboarding new members as fast as we can, and will be building machine-learning algorithms to connect them with the best people over delicious meals.

Who or what motivates you to keep going, even when things get tough?
Our wonderful users keep me going. Their passion for Nommery and success stories remind me that this may be the most meaningful work I’ve contributed to society.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to another entrepreneur just starting out?
Build relationships with your users and constantly collect feedback, to make sure you’re building something they love and share with all their friends.

What do you do every Monday morning to prepare and motivate yourself for the coming week?
I check our KPIs (key performance indicators) and make up a silly dance to get my blood moving.

For more #MondayMotivation, check out our interview with Kara Mac and Ann Peyton Merin, Co-Founders of ShoeCandy by Kara Mac, a line of high quality, designer shoes and hand-crafted, mix and match accessories that you can combine to create your own, heel to toe, shoe designs in a flash.