The Brandon Zhang Show

#043 "Kevin Lee - Going from VC to CPG Founder"

January 31, 2021 Brandon Zhang Season 1 Episode 43
The Brandon Zhang Show
#043 "Kevin Lee - Going from VC to CPG Founder"
Chapters
The Brandon Zhang Show
#043 "Kevin Lee - Going from VC to CPG Founder"
Jan 31, 2021 Season 1 Episode 43
Brandon Zhang

On today's episode, I speak with Kevin Lee, the co-founder of Immi, a CPG food brand paying homage to their favorite childhood dishes but reimagining them to fit our modern diets. Immi just launched three different products in their first vertical, Ramen. Amidst the busy launch, Kevin took time to talk with us about the process of creating healthy ramen, early lessons as a founder, and the goal of getting Immi into every supermarket in the country.

Links:

Immi Website
Kevin's Twitter 
CEO of a Massive Japanese Food Conglomerate Tastes Our Ramen
We Tasted 100+ Ingredients at North America’s Largest Ingredient Tradeshow

Contact Me:
My Twitter
My Website

5 Key Takeaways: 

1. We've seen that they've [older family members] just really developed more chronic health conditions because of their poor nutrition and unhealthy diets. And so my grandmother is pre-diabetic, both my parents take medication for high blood pressure, the same thing on K Chan [co-founders] family side. And so we started talking about combining our love of food, and health and nutrition to work on a better for you food brand and that was the original genesis behind the idea. 

2. We actually started like, you know, how you might learn anything, which is we went on YouTube, and we literally watched videos of people and chefs making noodles in the kitchen, we watched like videos of manufacturing plants and how they would produce instant ramen. My co-founder actually would download research reports that were in like Chinese and Japanese and we would get them translated so that we could study how other people were approaching it. And it was It's funny because there was a high amount of ignorance and naivety going into this because we had no background. But I think it allowed us to operate from that, you know, that first principles approach of, Hey, we literally know nothing. So we know nothing, how might someone approach this from zero to one. 

3. An important lesson that he really taught me was to have more confidence in these different things I was doing without expecting that they had to be the most professional or they followed a certain playbook. He just said, you know, carve your own path because that's the only way you succeed is you you have to make your own path.

4. One thing my coach taught me really is I  think you have to remember that as a founder. You're trying to serve the needs of your users' and if they don't like your product, for one, it's like they took the time to send you that message, which means they weren't, they weren't passionate about it to begin with, you just kind of didn't meet their needs yet. And that's why they're unhappy. You should take that as a sense of, hey, it's better to have this kind of feedback, that no feedback at all, at least, it means that they were excited and expected something and now you just have to iterate until you meet their needs. 

5. Our vision at me and we always say is, we chose these words, specifically is to enrich lives through the vibrant world of Asian American food. And we picked to enrich lives. Because enriching can mean you know, it can mean multiple things for us. It means enriching your health, right? So we care a lot about making sure that the food first and foremost is better for you. We care about enriching perspectives. So I think we talked about this, but when you eat another culture, food, all of a sudden, you're entering their world. 

Show Notes

On today's episode, I speak with Kevin Lee, the co-founder of Immi, a CPG food brand paying homage to their favorite childhood dishes but reimagining them to fit our modern diets. Immi just launched three different products in their first vertical, Ramen. Amidst the busy launch, Kevin took time to talk with us about the process of creating healthy ramen, early lessons as a founder, and the goal of getting Immi into every supermarket in the country.

Links:

Immi Website
Kevin's Twitter 
CEO of a Massive Japanese Food Conglomerate Tastes Our Ramen
We Tasted 100+ Ingredients at North America’s Largest Ingredient Tradeshow

Contact Me:
My Twitter
My Website

5 Key Takeaways: 

1. We've seen that they've [older family members] just really developed more chronic health conditions because of their poor nutrition and unhealthy diets. And so my grandmother is pre-diabetic, both my parents take medication for high blood pressure, the same thing on K Chan [co-founders] family side. And so we started talking about combining our love of food, and health and nutrition to work on a better for you food brand and that was the original genesis behind the idea. 

2. We actually started like, you know, how you might learn anything, which is we went on YouTube, and we literally watched videos of people and chefs making noodles in the kitchen, we watched like videos of manufacturing plants and how they would produce instant ramen. My co-founder actually would download research reports that were in like Chinese and Japanese and we would get them translated so that we could study how other people were approaching it. And it was It's funny because there was a high amount of ignorance and naivety going into this because we had no background. But I think it allowed us to operate from that, you know, that first principles approach of, Hey, we literally know nothing. So we know nothing, how might someone approach this from zero to one. 

3. An important lesson that he really taught me was to have more confidence in these different things I was doing without expecting that they had to be the most professional or they followed a certain playbook. He just said, you know, carve your own path because that's the only way you succeed is you you have to make your own path.

4. One thing my coach taught me really is I  think you have to remember that as a founder. You're trying to serve the needs of your users' and if they don't like your product, for one, it's like they took the time to send you that message, which means they weren't, they weren't passionate about it to begin with, you just kind of didn't meet their needs yet. And that's why they're unhappy. You should take that as a sense of, hey, it's better to have this kind of feedback, that no feedback at all, at least, it means that they were excited and expected something and now you just have to iterate until you meet their needs. 

5. Our vision at me and we always say is, we chose these words, specifically is to enrich lives through the vibrant world of Asian American food. And we picked to enrich lives. Because enriching can mean you know, it can mean multiple things for us. It means enriching your health, right? So we care a lot about making sure that the food first and foremost is better for you. We care about enriching perspectives. So I think we talked about this, but when you eat another culture, food, all of a sudden, you're entering their world.