Kat Vorotova ’07CC and David Foult ’14SIPA on How Their Gourmet-Snack Startup, Try The World, Doubled Its Revenue

Try The World, a subscription service selling exotic treats from around the world–like olive-lemon couscous sauce from Morocco and coconut crisps from Thailand–has acquired Hamptons Lane, a competitor, for an undisclosed amount. Kat Vorotova and David Foult started Try The World in 2013 with $800,000 from angel investors, and funding from the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia University, where the co-founders met. The following year, they raised roughly $2.3 million in seed from Alven Capital and Innotech Capital.

The monthly subscriptions range from $19 to $39 a package. “The industry is moving to not just healthy but diverse foods,” says Vorotova. “This is resonating not just in ethnic communities but among millennials, the mainstream and middle America, too.” The founders say the evolution of the American palate has helped revenue jump from $7 million in 2015 to $14 million in 2016.

The company adds that 70% of its customers are millennials, and 30% live in the Midwest. In this interview, which has been edited and condensed, Vorotova and Foult explain how they have increased sales and how they broke even in 2016.

Tanya Klich: What were your careers before launching Try The World?

Kat Vorotova: I worked in strategy at Weight Watchers where I realized there was a huge problem with the quality of food in the U.S. I also ran a food blog on the side about international cuisine.

David Foult: This is my second time as an entrepreneur. Before coming to New York, I started a microfinance fund in Hue, Vietnam, helping artisans and farmers expand their businesses in Vietnam and abroad. I was also part of the launch of a pop-up store company enabling foreign brands to enter the European market through short term retail solutions. Through both experiences, I realized how challenging it was for foreign food brands to import their product into larger markets like U.S. and Europe.

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