Rachel Drori is the Founder and CEO of Daily Harvest, a food delivery company that sells healthy and convenient frozen smoothies, bowls, plant based milks, soups, flatbreads and more. Daily Harvest helps you stock your home with delicious clean food that's created with real fruits and vegetables designed to keep up with your busy lifestyle. In this episode, Rachel shares with us her journey from growing up as the youngest of five with entrepreneurial parents to working at American Express and Gilt Group, to realizing there was a lack of healthy and convenient food options, which sparked the idea for Daily Harvest. She talks with us about how she got her business off the ground, the challenges she faced along the way, how she raised over 43 million dollars from investors, and how she managed to build a profitable business that reached over 250 million dollars in revenue in 2020.
“As a child, my parents were so passionate about what they were doing, and I could see it.”
“The box that I actually needed to check was the confidence box, not the education box or not the work experience box.”
“Seeing what happens when things aren't going so well and how some of that could have been avoided by more disciplined growth really led me to focus on things like capital efficiency when starting Daily Harvest from day one.”
“When I think about how I've built Daily Harvest, and what our goals are, and how we treat our people, and how we invest in talent and growth and management skills, I think a lot of it is informed from that incredible environment that was created at Gilt in the talent incubator.”
“I started looking at the food options out there and trying to figure out why they were the way that they were. And for me, it really comes down to how they are structured, number one, and how they view success in the public markets.”
“If you think about what slow, steady growth and dividends mean for food, something that you ingest, there's a lot of squeezing margins. And when you think about squeezing margins out of food, it's also squeezing nutrition out of food.”
“I set a metric for myself, which was very important for me, because what I wanted to avoid in this little MVP experiment of mine was I like to call it the Girl Scout cookie effect or the wrapping paper effect... I wanted to make absolutely sure that there was no ‘my friends are feeling bad for me’ effect.”
“Economies thrive with specialization. And so do companies.”
“You need to hire experts in certain areas, and it can create this really uncomfortable situation with those early people who you owe everything to, but it becomes murky when there's not a clear path for them. So my advice to people is to just have that awkward conversation up front and to have it frequently throughout the growth stage.”
“Early on I felt like, "Oh, I'm a founder now. I need to have this morning routine and I need to have work/life balance, and I need to have all these things." Like that was stressing me out more than just being like "I'm at the center of a tornado, and it's great.’"
“I think going from down and in to up and out was kind of the hardest transition because it's not just something you can do yourself. You also have to make sure that you have the right team to be able to support it and you have the right accountability that strings through the organization. And those things are hard to orchestrate.”
“You want people who look different, who think different, who have different experiences that they bring to the table, but it's so important that the values are aligned.”