In conversation with Yiran Qin, founder of Nummy and Upwards fellow
Yiran is the founder of Nummy, a table sharing app that brings people together through food. Whether you are a genuine foodie or new to London and looking to meet people, Nummy connects you over a good old fashioned meal. No agenda, just dinner.
Nummy users can book a seat at a table choosing from a variety available options, see who they will be dining with on the night and pay upfront for the meal. Meaning no need for quick math when the bill arrives or awkward conversations with the guy who ordered lobster.
Since launching in November 2019, Nummy has brought 190 people together over 34 dinners hosted in London’s most raved about restaurants including Bancone, Red Rooster and Foley’s to name a few. But Yiran is not planning on stopping with table sharing, read on to hear about her vision for the app, her journey of starting a business and her time spent with Outward and Investec on the Upwards initiative.
How did Nummy come to life?
I grew up in New Zealand in an Asian family and our way of spending time together always centred around food… particularly dumplings. When I moved to London it was hard and quite lonely. I started thinking about the friends I had made since moving to the city and the common thread was that it all began around sharing a meal together. That’s where Nummy started and I began by simply posting tables on different Facebook groups, asking if anyone wanted to join. There was a genuine demand.
I used an app agency to build Nummy. Because I’m a small fish, they delayed the project well beyond the agreed completion date. The knock on effects were losing restaurant partners and interest from angel investors. To them I was not believable as a founder which was really frustrating.
Being a female raised in an Asian family my mum always told me to be a lady and avoid confrontation. As a minority you always need to work harder, I have always grown up thinking that. This experience taught me to be more assertive and stand up for what I deserve. I ended up being compensated for the delay and I’m so glad I stood my ground.
What advice would you give to other early stage founders?
Do your market research and build the simplest MVP possible. Once you get traction and prove the concept, funding will come and you can then develop the product. You don’t need the most beautiful product to start out with.
What has been your experience as a female founder in London given the spot light on the great imbalance in the industry?
It’s an exciting time to be a female founder. There are many opportunities such as Upwards and VCs that invest solely in female founders. Two years ago I would have argued that whoever is the best should get the funding. However, having experienced first-hand how imbalanced it is, for example pitching to a room filled with middle aged white men who look nothing like you or your target audience has lead me to take the view that drastic measures are necessary. I don’t think women have an unfair advantage.
For anyone wanting to apply to Upwards, what has been the key take away for you?
To be provided with an office space free of charge for three months in central London has been really helpful. Moreover, to be in a hub with people willing to support you has been a great experience. One of the teams helped me develop my financial model and our conversations really triggered big picture thinking for the next five years.
Vision for Nummy?
My vision is to become the go to place for anything food related – the new generation of OpenTable and TripAdvisor. Starting with table sharing and being a part of a community, to a place where users will be able to maintain friendships and socially tap into a city’s culture and food scene globally. A Nummy Universe.
To continue the conversation with Yiran, contact [email protected]
More on Upwards:
Upwards is an initiative of Investec and Outward VC, which aims to seek out and support talented, early-stage under-represented founders at a critical point in their entrepreneurial journey. These founders are invited to set up shop for three months at Investec’s offices, where they can access a network of tech, marketing, finance teams as well as guidance from Outward VC.
Get in touch at [email protected] to apply/find out more.