Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Beginning of the Rest of Our Business

Carlo Cisco
Founder, FoodFan and Select

As a 25-year-old founder, I had no idea what the benefits of joining the NGLCCNY could be. Despite only being a member for 4 or 5 months thus far, the answer it turns out, is quite significant.

Our company was still very young (pre-launch) when I first heard about the NGLCCNY and becoming a certified LGBTE.  This was well timed, we had pivoted from FoodFan, a food search and recommendation site to Select, a membership program for consistent savings on the best in dining, travel, and entertainment.  I felt like Select had huge potential in the corporate market and that the network of the NGLCC & NGLCCNY could help us make key contacts and differentiate from the competition.

Just a few weeks later, I learned about the national conference in Dallas and thought, “that’d be great to go to, too bad it’s too expensive.”  Shortly after I received an email about the “Roll the Dice” pitch competition, I decided to apply.  A few weeks later, I found out we were one of five semi-finalists, and a pitch video later, became one of three finalists.  This left us with a week to book flights and accommodations and shoot down to Dallas.

The “Roll the Dice” competition was the very last day of the conference, leaving us with time to practice our pitch and network our butts off.  The quality of the networking opportunities at the conference was phenomenal. There were hundreds of corporate representatives and many successful LGBTEs.  Additionally there were a number of high-quality, informational breakout sessions led by successful entrepreneurs and top diversity and inclusion executives.

On the last day, we got to pitch our company to an audience of hundreds of conference attendees.  Despite making it from a record number of applicants down to the final 3, we did not win. However, we had the opportunity to sell our company to a high quality audience, receive valuable feedback from noteworthy investors, and make valuable connections.

Since the conference we’ve fine-honed our market, accelerated revenue growth, and are working on deals with Fortune 500 companies.  So although we didn’t win the competition, it changed the trajectory of our business.

FoodFan, Inc. is a NGLCCNY Bronze Level Business Member and a recently certified LGBTBE.  Select, is a program subsidiary of FoodFan, Inc.  Select provides members-only access to insider savings at the best restaurants in your city.  Members receive a black Select Card, which they slide into the check at the end of a meal and the waiter discreetly removes 15-30% off the full bill.  The program works at any of our restaurants, anytime a member dines there. There are no blackout days or times, and no reservations or prior notice is required to receive the discount.

Select is just $8.99/month - an amount that can be easily recouped in a single meal. 
NGLCCNY members receive 25% off their membership, please go to and use invitation code “NGLCCNY” – bon appĂ©tit!

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