Name Of Business: Special Fork
Mission: Special Fork is a free mobile recipe web site designed to solve the daily dinnertime dilemma: What to cook now!
Name & Contact and Babson connection: David Hu, Full-time MBA 2007, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, ph: 415.290.9568
Where: San Francisco, CA
Founder’s Past Life/Business: My background has been almost entirely focused on start-ups but this is my first time founding a company. Upon graduating from Babson’s MBA full-time program in 2007, I worked at Virgin Mobile as a Product Manager then co-founded Special Fork. Prior to Babson I was a Product Manager/Analyst at M:Metrics.
How The Idea Began: I had gone to the supermarket – without a plan – to find something for dinner. I found that tilapia was on sale and I had always wanted to make a dish with tilapia. However, because it was new to me I didn’t have a recipe and I wasn’t going to go home, find a recipe and come back with a shopping list. I left the supermarket disappointed and annoyed because, not only was I not able to buy the tilapia, but I spent another 15 minutes trying to figure out what to eat for dinner!
I went home and relayed the story to my mom, formerly SVP Associate Director of Ketchum’s Global Food & Nutrition Practice, and a food PR veteran, and found that she had been trying to work out a solution to this very problem for a number of years. With her background in food communications and mine in high-tech and mobile phones, coupled and my Babson education, we brought deep complementary skills and knowledge to launch Special Fork.
Best or Worst Thing About The Business: Every day brings a new set of unexpected challenges and I enjoy being on the hook for the success or failure of the business. Also, Special Fork has stretched my capabilities, from pitching advertising to CPG companies to doing video cooking demos, even if I’m just an amateur cook.
One of the unique things about Special Fork is that, while I co-founded the business with my mom, she works for me. I provide the business strategy, develop the social media campaigns and run the company. I am grateful to have the kind of relationship where I can both flex the parent/child relationship and I have fun working with my mom and tapping into her insights.
Biggest Challenge: Like most start ups money is always an issue and I watch every penny that goes out the door.
The Story of Special Fork: When he liked the evening’s meal, my younger brother Chris, a child of few words, began a quiet ritual of leaving the table, going to the kitchen and swapping his dinner fork for the one mismatched fork in the utensil drawer.
This fork was plain and quite ordinary, but it came to be called, “Special Fork,” by our family because it signified a special meal. The appearance of Special Fork at the dinner table was the ultimate compliment to mom or dad, whoever rushed home from work first, and managed to cook the meal that night.
Chris continued to express his approval through Special Fork from age six or seven until he went off to college, and to this day, Special Fork is somewhere in a box with his boyhood treasures.
Special Fork is dedicated to helping everyday consumers who are facing the same daunting dinner challenges these many decades later, to make Special Fork meals, every night.