Office Hours: I’m the co-founder of yhangry – a YC-backed private chef marketplace. I’m Siddhi Mittal. AMA!Featured

Hello Elphas!

I’m Siddhi Mittal, Co-founder of yhangry (YC W22). We’re a private chef marketplace, where you can book a chef from just £30pp.

Before yhangry, I was trading financial bonds & asset backed securities for 6.5yrs. I was responsible for trading risk assets over $500m in balance sheet, and loved taking a view and putting on prop trades. I graduated from Columbia University and studied Artificial Intelligence in 2013. I loved being a trader, but towards the end of that journey yearned to build my own startup and have a lasting impact.

During my downtime, I enjoy making barista-style coffee, dancing (I’m a competitive Bollywood dancer), reading books, taking a nice walk, and doing yoga (this is very new). I also love 1:1 meaningful catchups with friends, spending time with family, and sharing war stories with founders.

Ask me anything about building a marketplace, going through ycombinator, building a strong co-founder relationship, building mental resilience, being a professional Bollywood dancer, or anything else!

Thanks so much for joining us @siddhimittal!Elphas – please ask @siddhimittal your questions before Friday, May 26th. @siddhimittal may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
I love this! Especially because we should not leave nutrition up to UberEats or DoorDash! I've cooked since I was 8 and is so much hard work to make a healthy and tasty meal when you're a working professional too. This is especially a concern for parents who are very conscious of what to feed their kids of course. Thank you for making this!Question: Who have been your clients so far?
Agree entirely - we felt the same! Busy professionals and no time to cook!We have had celebrities like Christiano Ronaldo, Halle Berry, etc use us...The age group of our customers is vast - 21-80yr olds booking us for birthdays, holiday homes, friend get-togethers, etc! Other than that we have people booking us for BBQ, meal prep, cooking classes - anything and everything that uses a private chef on private premises :) We also have event planners, venue managers, office managers etc book for their own events!
Hi Siddhi! Thanks for sharing your time.For YC, what stage where you at when you applied (idea, prototype, mvp out in the market)? Any tips for startup network & mentorship as a female founder?
Here is a post I wrote on how to get into YCombinator: (in case helpful) 1) we applied after 2yrs of running (revenue generating) and probably one of the later startups. but you have the whole bunch really... and the earlier you are-- i feel you have less deadweight you are carrying around (but also less experience) so it nets off. Doesn't really matter :) 2) Speak to founders and ask genuine questions. Don't try to spam or sell. Ask questions that you are struggling with (fundraising, growth, how to do X, what about Z etc). Cold reach out (you'll be surprised by the response rate). Ultimately I believe there can be no one mentor on this journey (it's way too wild), so seek out people actively for areas you need help with and their domain expertise. Remember that a network of founders (slightly ahead of you) will make your journey easier and quicker (you can just ping them a question vs reinventing the wheel yourself). But ultimately, don't worry too much - just go for it. Speak to people and ask good questions. Rinse and repeat.
Hello Siddhi! I feel like a lot of the questions I had have already been asked, so my question is about your Bollywood dancing experience. Sounds like a lot of fun! Is that something you still do? If so, how do you juggle it all?
Hello! I danced competitively for the longest time in my life (15+yrs), but now I don't do it competitively. I go to dance classes and I do it for the soul -- if it felt like a chore, I probably would not want to do it. So the goal for me is to find things that help me relax, recharge and stay fit :)
Hi Siddhi, Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! I'm building a non-competitive marketplace. What do you feel like was the hook for being selected for YC? Was it the idea, team, traction, etc., -- and why was that appealing to YC? Also, how did you go about building your platform from your mvp to where you are today? Did you dev the whole thing from scratch or utilize any other template or no-code type platforms in your early days?Thanks!Angela
Here is a post I wrote on how to get into YCombinator: can't tell you why we got selected (no one can!) but they are looking for exceptional startup founders that can HUSTLE - so you want to show as much traction and hustle as possibleMy first MVP was a pdf list of dishes that I sent around to my colleagues and forced them to book to give me feedback! Very old school and lean. Ultimately, it wasn't about the tech for us, but validating whether people want to book a private chef, why, and at what price point (and whether that supply exists)So I would ask yourself questions:- what does my marketplace solve? what's new?- what do i need to prove: demand or supply (usually its demand)- what is the easiest way i can start proving demand TODAY (without waiting for anything to build)- If you think you need a working tech that does X, ask yourself, if you can't have that, what else could you do?etcHope that helps!
I'd love to know more about your thoughts on building mental resilience. What experiences do you think helped you build that muscle?
My co-founder Heinin and I went through a burnout during YCombinator, and really lost joy for life, etc. It took a while to heal us back into health and realise that we had stopped doing the fundamental things - eat well, exercise, see friends, read books good for the soul, take a digital detox vacation, etc.So this year I decided I will read books that help. These books have been on my list so far --- David Goggins - Can't Hurt Us, Game Changers - Dave Asprey, Art of Learning - Josh Waitzin, Greelnlights - Matthew McConaughey, Stolen Focus - Johann Hari) What's made the biggest difference away from that is: - bulletproof coffee everymorning- finding a way of "movement" to stay active that fits me (yoga 3x a week - movement + meditation, HIIT 2x a week, sometimes squash, and then walking)- Taking deep intentional breaths- Journalling every morningMental resilience really is a muscle and you need to hone it and become better EVERYDAY
Hi Siddhi! Thank you for doing the Office Hours! How did you find your co-founder and what do you do to build a strong relationship with this person? Also, what does co-CEO look like between the two of you?
I just recently wrote a LinkedIn post about how to how to build a strong co-founder relationship: It's a good one if I might say so myself.I found her at work - we were professional colleagues first and then became close friends. This has the benefit of knowing and working with her and knowing that we can handle the arguments, and then walking about at the end of the day and laughing about it. We also realized our values were very similar (both asian (India/China), smart moms, businessman dad, and we knew we share a similar vision of what we wanted our future to be)Co-CEO isn't for everyone, but for us, there is no other option. I run product, she runs growth, and we both run fundraising together. We have swapped things around often (based on what the company needs - for example customer service, supply team, etc). A lof of trust, offsetting skills sets (I'm a techie, and she is more of a foodie), and the realization that we are stronger together makes us a great team. I would not do it any other way.
Hi @siddhimittal! I love this new idea! So many food/restaurants software tech has been focused on delivery, but love that you are bringing food and experience at others comfort. 🤩I’ve been working on my side project, hoping to make it into my full-time job. Not coming from the food background, how did you get the idea, and did you have a full-time job while building your startup? If you did, when was the moment you felt comfortable to leave the job?
This was the first ever post I wrote when I quit: (it gives a small sneak peak of the journey)I had this idea because it was my own problem, and after not being able to find a service that did something similar, I though maybe I should solve my own problem?From the article ----- (it was a while before I got to the quitting phase! I did a course, then went back to trading, then found my co-founder, and only then I was ready. Once I found my co-founder, it was really fun and we together became more risk-seeking and decided that we needed to give it a go and not be afriad)"I finally joint Escape the City accelerator in September 2018, and my startup idea Yhangry was born. For six weeks I spoke to people who were in the same boat as me, and I finally felt at peace! I wasn’t crazy, there were others like me. But sadly once I left, I forgot all about it and went back to trading… like nothing had changed. Soon, the restlessness returned and grew 10x, and I remember that I couldn’t watch movies about ambitious little kids without silently crying. Things felt…. stuck.And then I accidentally found my co-founder — an amazing fierce and funny woman who was also a good friend. She intuitively understood the idea and wanted to go at full speed from day one. We both felt the same way about work and life. We both wanted to try, to build and create, and to never have any regrets. And just like that, the stars aligned.Since then, we have incorporated the company, quit our jobs, have done 50 bookings, and are in it for the long haul!"
Hi Siddhi! Thank you for doing this!!I am a big big big fan of YC, and I have recently been thinking of applying. I applied in 2018, but I was not ready for it. Now I finally have the team, we have the skills and we have an idea. However, as I am analysing things in my head, I am realising that I want to apply to YC because of YC, not because the startup excites me. It is not my startup idea. I do like the idea, and the problem it is solving is a problem I have experienced and it is all interesting, but I don't think I would join the startup if there was no applying to YC. In your experience, is this the wrong reason to apply? I mean a startup is a long term commitment. But YC sounds so amazing, and I have heard that so many people change their idea once their anyway, so I am not sure what to make of it all.In addition, I am thinking of starting a family, is that completely incompatible with doing YC and starting a startup?
I would say the YC experience in and itself is WORTH IT, but you will need to have a tight application, show progress and really convince them you are in it to do it.For example, they might email you a month from your application submission and ask: " do you have any progress to submit, etc", and you better be making progressThat said, over 70% of startups that get into YC have applied twice or more! (that's crazy). So odds are you won't get in, but the next time you apply, they will get to compare apps, and will see progress - they like to see progress or evolution.Lastly, YC often says they accept founders, not the ideas... and often have internal bets on who will end up "pivoting" or completely changing their idea. If I were you, I'd probably take 1 day to apply anyway, and then just see what happens (more often than not it's nothing... and if something does happen, you'll be super glad you applied!).
Thank you @siddhimittal! That's what I thought and needed to hear.I know the chances of getting in are very slim but if we do decide to apply we will take it extremely seriously. If we don't get in, I don't know if I'd be able to apply again in the next batch.