Female Founder Stories: Vanessa Torrivilla, Founder of Goldbely (YC W13)

by Y Combinator2/8/2015

Goldbely discovers the best foods in every city around the country and makes it available to people nationwide. It’s like an Etsy for food, but highly curated.

Q: What did you do before starting Goldbely?
I have a Computer Science degree and after a couple of years of working as a programmer, I fell in love with design, marketing and branding. I quit my job, taught myself design programs and freelanced on creative projects. I worked with creative ad agencies, fashion brands, art galleries, fashion retail stores, and restaurants. Anyone who would allow me to be quirky and fun. I had always been inspired by out-of-the-box marketing concepts. I only took on projects that gave me creative freedom.

After 3 years in an artistic spree, I decided to marry my technical thinking with my creative abilities and I entered the startup world. I worked in New York’s growing startup scene in the e-commerce space. I became a mobile UI/UX designer for iphone and android apps and became experienced and passionate about mobile e-commerce.

Q: How did you meet your cofounders?
My cofounder Joe Ariel has been involved in food/tech for a long time. While brainstorming on his next move after being CEO of Delivery.com, he told me about his vision of creating a marketplace that showcased only the best foods in each city in the USA. I loved the idea and jumped at the opportunity to design the experience.

We met Trevor Stow through mutual friends in the NYC tech scene. He had lots of experience developing e-commerce sites for the restaurant industry.

Joel Gillman, worked with me in NYC at a video startup called Blip. We shared a passion for creative UX and design.

Q: What was YC like for you?
Our 3 month YC stint was one of the best things we could’ve done for our company. Our small team of 4 moved from NYC to Sunnyvale, CA for the duration of the YC winter batch. We lived together in a house and focused on building our product and growth, pretty much 24/7.

Each week the YC partners would help us analyze our stats and set new milestones to reach. It was the most intense time of our lives.

Q: What is the atmosphere like at YC with Demo Day approaching?
Intense. Focused. Stressful. Exciting. We wanted to move the product along as fast as possible in light of presenting to 500 of the top tech investors in the world.

Q: What was it like moving to Silicon Valley from NYC? Was it worth it?
We were supposed to return to NYC after the 3 months. Lots of positive things started happening post-Demo Day. We all agreed that we didn’t want to lose momentum and that Silicon Valley was the place for our team to be. We are in SOMA these days and also have a small office in NYC. It was completely worth it and we’d do it again.

Q: Was being female either an advantage or disadvantage in working on your startup?
I never felt that it was either. Our team gets along very well and everyone brings something different, yet crucial, to the table.

Q: Why do you think there are fewer startups with female founders than male ones?
You have to be a little bit crazy to have a startup. Men are bigger risk takers (gamblers) because they don’t always think things through! Seriously though, I think now that starting a startup is a more prudent decision, that we are starting to see a shift. More women founders are seeing true opportunities and more realistic chances of success.

Q: What do you wish someone had told you when you were 15?
Growing up in Venezuela, I was taught that to be successful in a career I needed to be either a doctor or an engineer. I chose engineering. After college I fell in love with art and design and realized that it was a feasible career. Had I known that earlier, my eyes would have been opened to design at a younger age. However, I am happy my path has lead me to both.


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