Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Aashi Vel and I founded Traveling Spoon, an online marketplace that connects travelers with meaningful and cultural food experiences, from homemade meals to cooking classes, in people’s homes around the world. I believe that the best way to experience culture when traveling is by interacting with locals – cooking and sharing a meal together allows people to open up, share stories about themselves and learn from others. We started Traveling Spoon a little over two years ago and we have since expanded to over 16 countries, won the Women 2.0 Award, Berkeley Venture Lab, and Dartmouth Entrepreneurs Forum and have been featured by Forbes, The Travel Channel, Travel + Leisure, Business Insider and by CNN Money as a must-have travel app.
What forms of media have influenced you the most?
Everything from The Economist and The New York Times to Bon Appetit fuels my passion. The Skimm is my go-to for a quick news update. I’ve been reading Fortune.com’s “The Broadsheet” lately for a roundup of powerful women in the news. My kindle is my best friend when I’m traveling. I love learning and learn fastest when I’m interacting with people whether it’s our hosts, investors, other entrepreneurs or my co-founder.
What hardware / software do you use?
I’m a designer by profession and love the power of the Adobe suite – I use Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign to design our website and marketing materials. Our code stack for our website is Ruby on Rails. We use DigitalOcean to host our site, Amazon Cloudfront for image storage and Jira for project management. We use Skype and Whatsapp to communicate with and vet potential hosts halfway across the world. We are a lean startup and all the hardware I depend on is my iPhone, MacBookAir, and Moleskine notebook (to keep track of my to-do lists).
What would be your dream creative setup?
Working collaboratively to come up with creative ideas to solve problems is one of my greatest satisfactions which is why a room filled with daylight and our extremely talented team is my ideal creative setting. Afternoons, typically right after a delicious lunch, are when I’m most productive!