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Columbia Startup Lab International Success Story

Bokksu founded by Danny Taing ‘14ENG, is an authentic Japanese snack subscription venture that will take you on a gourmet journey through Japan every month. From Hokkaido white chocolate butter cookies to Kyoto handground matcha, Bokksu is the only subscription box that sources its products directly from producers in Japan so their artisanal snacks and teas cannot be found anywhere else.

Danny owes a big part of Bokksu’s success to his time at Columbia Startup Lab. When he first joined in 2015, he had a co-founder and was working on totally different ideas. After pivoting several times and losing the co-founder along the way, Danny found himself in a fairly bleak situation.

The Bokksu Team

He was as a first-time founder with no connections to the venture capital world. However, because CSL offered a supportive community of similarly hungry founders, office hours with early-stage venture investors, and subsidized office space, he was encouraged to get back up and pivot one last time to a business idea he was actually passionate about: Japanese food and culture.

“One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to understand the food culture of any country is through its snacks.  Bokksu, a monthly subscription box, delivers the gourmet flavors of Japan straight from centuries-old Japanese snack companies and makers to food lovers all over the world.  You won’t find these curated treats at your local supermarket. By buying from Bokksu, you’re not only indulging your craving and curiosity for creative snacks, but also supporting traditional family businesses in Japan.

– Business Insider, February 14th 2019.

Since launching Bokksu in May 2016 with about 40 subscribers (half of whom were Danny’s close friends), Bokksu has seen tremendous growth year-over-year.

Bokksu has successfully bootstrapped the company to 10,000 subscribers and $3,000,000 in revenue by end of 2018 and recently closed their first fundraising round of $1,000,000.

However, Danny will tell you that he is most proud of the talented, scrappy team he’s built from the ground up in both NYC and now Tokyo where Bokksu established a subsidiary office in mid-2018.

From packing boxes alone in his living room to having 12 teammates in 2 countries in just 3 years, Bokksu’s rapid growth is entirely thanks to my wonderful and diverse team that share my passion for Japanese food and culture.

Help support the next Columbia Startup Lab success story.  Send an email to cm3014@columbia.edu and we’ll send you a gentle reminder on October, 23rd, 2019 Columbia Giving Day.

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