Melisa Lin is the CEO & Founder of Nommery, a social dining network that gathers like-minded people for shared meals at great restaurants. VIP users include Fortune 500 executives, VCs, and founders, including the founders of Hint Water, Rotten Tomatoes, and Caviar.
Melisa is a UC Berkeley graduate and an accomplished violinist; she has performed with more than a dozen orchestras, toured Europe with the Stanford Symphony, and performed as the Concert Master of the Mill Valley Philharmonic in the Davies Symphony Hall.
How did you get to where you are today?
To the dismay of my parents, I left the premed track in favor of creating my own major, Sustainable Food Business. I ran three small businesses in college, and then moved to San Francisco to work in operations and then sales. I wanted to meet new people and explore the food scene, so I started the San Francisco Foodies on Meetup. The community rapidly scaled to 130 events per month with 2,200 members and 50 event organizers, and I took all my vacations to fly to cities across the U.S. to start other chapters. We're now in fourteen cities with 30,000 members.
While dining with thousands of strangers across the U.S., I watched members meet over meals and go on to travel the world together, help each other find their next jobs, and two couples have even gotten married. I decided to build a platform to connect all our members and help them meet the right people, whether they were looking to meet new friends, network, or date.
Luckily, I had met Adam Berlinsky-Schine, then the CTO of Coffee Meets Bagel, through SF Foodies. He became my main tech mentor as I learned how to code, and eventually joined me as Nommery's CTO and Co-Founder. We're excited to scale Nommery to all cosmopolitan cities and connect the world, one meal at a time.
What was your toughest obstacle and how did you overcome it?
The toughest obstacle so far has been raising funds for Nommery. We ended up raising a preseed round from our own members, and have commitments from advisors for Nommery's seed round.
What’s the key to staying focused & motivated?
I try to take walks to reset my brain. For the longest time, I felt guilty whenever I did anything besides building Nommery, and have recently found that walks help refresh and refocus my mind. As for motivation, awesome Nommery events and success stories from our members keep me going.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Be kind to yourself.
What advice do you have for another person who is looking to start a new venture?
Envision the end goal, and then focus on taking one step at a time towards it.
How do we get more women leaders?
I couldn't envision a successful Asian women in business until I started meeting them in my 20s. Having them as role models has helped materialize my path forward. Luckily, my generation is full of women leaders to inspire the next batch.