In honor of India's Independence Day today, I thought I'd share a list of some American-born brands that are founded by South Asians. While their companies may not be rooted in their heritage, I've always believed that what lives inside of you matters more than where you live. While it's usually self-evident when brands like ours -- so heavily inspired by our culture -- are founded by South Asians, these nine brands are unique in that most Indian thing about them may be its founders.
Molekule - Founded in 2014 by the Goswami family, Molekule was created with a goal of using the power of science to eliminate indoor air pollution around the world. It was Dr. Yogi Goswami's (Molekule's Chief Scientist) debilitating asthma and allergies that was the catalyst behind the business, started by his children, Dilip (President & CTO) and Jaya (CEO).
HOOKED Chat Stories - This app, founded by husband and wife duo, Parag Chordia and Prerna Gupta, gives readers bite-sized stories in a text message conversation style -- as if you were literally reading someone else's chat history. As veterans from the mobile app world, the couple seems to have cracked the code in creating ways to keep Gen Z hooked to their phones.
Gobble - In 2011, Gobble began as a Craigslist ad seeking chefs willing to create and cater home-cooked meals for $8 a plate to Ooshma Garg, the Founder, and a handful of her friends and peers. She was pleasantly surprised with 70 immediate responses. Today, Gobble has gone from burning $1 million a month to earning nearly that much in profit by offering unique flavors only available through their meal kits.
Prep Expert - The founder of this SAT and ACT prep company, Dr. Shaan Patel, achieved two feats not many can boast: scored a perfect SAT and a deal with Mark Cuban on Shark Tank. Prep Expert's 6-week online preparation courses have helped over 50,000 students improve their SAT and ACT scores, resulting in college scholarships and admission into top universities.
Little Global Citizens - Husband-and-wife duo Akeelah Kuraishi and Tim Minnick, quit their jobs in 2011, bought one-way tickets to Beijing and set off on a 13-month backpacking trip. This trip, as it turns out, planted the seeds for starting LGC, and was further cemented after becoming parents. They wanted to show children -- including their own -- that people are the same and help them build global perspectives. The first box, mailed out in May 2018, was about Thailand, where the couple spent six weeks.
Maiden Home - In 2015, as a new homeowner in NYC, Nidhi Kapur was on a mission to find custom furniture that met her standards and her budget. As any entrepreneur would do, when she couldn't find what she was seeking, she created it. Maiden Home is an online purveyor of luxe, handmade-to-order, competitively priced furniture, designed for those looking to find investment pieces for their home.
Armoire - Founded in 2016 in Seattle, Ambika Singh joined the fray of subscription clothing rental startups, popularized by Rent the Runway. Despite their mission to "be the armor for every type of woman,” Singh plans to introduce gender-neutral designs and create a destination for individuals who don’t identify as women.
Nomad Lane - Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jeswani's mutual love of adventure sparked more than just their relationship -- it sparked a business idea. Together, they have lived on several continents and have visited 42 countries and counting. Their Bento Bag, which is touted as the ultimate carry-on for business travelers and digital nomads, was inspired by their own lifestyle. Embracing their love of travel, the couple is currently running their location-independent business from sunny Bali, where they plan to stay for a year.
Pop & Bottle - Pop & Bottle was founded by two coffee-loving friends, Blair Hardy, and Jash Kandhari-Mehta who were frustrated by a lack of clean, plant-based options in the coffee space. Pop & Bottle, which can now be found at Whole Foods, Target and Amzon, is a line of organic lattes without dairy, refined sugar or any junky extras. As part of their focus on creating plant-based and pure drinks, their ingredients contain superfoods like almonds, dates, and pink Himalayan salt.
While this list is far from comprehensive, it's incredible to see South Asians venturing into such a diverse range of industries from apps to apparel, and creating a name for themselves in America and beyond.