Introducing… Stories from HotPlate

As of February 2nd, it will be a year since we officially incorporated HotPlate. As student entrepreneurs, we accomplished a lot in the last year. We built an app from scratch, talked to dozens of restaurants and users, and launched our platform for all of Evanston to use — all because we are determined to help you discover the best dishes at restaurants.

Two summers ago, I was interning in the greater Chicago area and would spend hours researching restaurants and dishes in Chicago I wanted to try over the weekend. For many of these restaurants, I knew I might only ever be going there once and I wanted to be sure to order what that restaurant was known for. I was so surprised when I realized how difficult it was to find this information among the multiple blog review sites and restaurant databases. Hence, the beginning of HotPlate.

However, our journey has been far from easy and this one year milestone was a great time to pause and reflect.

Along the way, our team has had many roadblocks. Whether it is learning about usability issues too late or spending hours trying to fix the same bug or even managing HotPlate alongside our coursework and college activities. As students, we are figuring out how to build a product and run a company for the first time.

That’s why we are starting to share “Stories from HotPlate” — a thoughtful reflection series discussion things we wish we knew when we started and areas we are getting through right now. In the next month, you will hear from different members of our team of Northwestern University students.

Here’s a peek into what we have planned!

For all of you developers and designers out there, we will share our experience about working in React Native for the first time. Also if you have your own startup, you won’t be able to function longer than a year without the joy of filing taxes, so we will talk about startup accounting 101. Some other topics we’re excited about is how to ask your consumers the right questions and making user experience design an approach to product design. Through the course of these stories, we hope to touch all the different aspects of working on a startup.

Although we’re no experts, we hope that by sharing our insights, the next college startup and student entrepreneurs are better equipped to be that much further along.

-Sarah Ahmad