Ooshma Garg's Peer-to-Peer Lasagna Company

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While serving as the co-president of the Stanford Women in Business during her junior year, the proverbial lightbulb went off over Ooshma Garg’s head. After observing some of the big corporations scrambling to meet with her successful student group, she noticed that many of them were having trouble attracting qualified diverse candidates, especially in certain fields, such as law.

Garg’s lightbulb was so bright that she put $80,000 of her own cash into founding Anapata, a website connecting more than 600 of the country’s top law firms with qualified candidates from more than 220 student diversity groups. The site was such a hit with students and firms alike that Garg was able to quit her summer job at Morgan Stanley just a few months later. It’s rather fitting that “Anapata” comes from a Swahili word that means “to find, attain, and achieve.”

After expanding the Anapata site to include analytics of student perception of various law firms—very valuable information to those firms—Garg sold the startup to a legal company called LawWerx. But Garg wasn’t ready to throw in the entrepreneurial towel after just one success. Instead, she used a little personal insight gained while running Anapata to found Gobble, startup #2: It seems she was so busy running the company that her normally healthy habits had started to flounder.

“Starting [Anapata], my eating habits went down the drain," she told CNN Money. You can crowdsource just about anything, of course, so when Garg’s parents suggested she find someone to make her healthy, home-cooked meals, she put the call out on Craigslist. With a budget of $6 to $8 per meal, the young businesswoman quickly had plenty of takers—and a month’s worth of free “sample” dishes. The lightbulb returned, and Garg founded Gobble, a self-described “peer-to-peer lasagna” company and app that connects chefs who craft home-cooked meals with people on the go in the Bay Area, from fellow entrepreneurs to families who just want to spend less time cooking.

With $1.2 million from investors, including funds from LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Gobble is looking to expand to other cities soon. Though Garg has described Gobble as her true passion, she’s also mentioned that she believes entrepreneurs “tinker around with many ideas and maybe even a couple different businesses before they find the one.” At just 25 years old, we’re willing to bet that there are a lot more lightbulbs in her future.

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October 14, 2013 - 5:30pm
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