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Being Forced to Shut Down a +$1M/year Food Startup, with Steve Long of The Travel Brief

Steve Long is co-founder at The Travel Brief, a site that gives travelers the ability to share practical tips and guides with others, while documenting their adventures in a meaningful way. Steve plunged into the entrepreneurial world at twenty-four years

Updated on June 04

Key Smash Notes In This Episode


Steve shares that he always knew he wanted to start his own business.

His parents were really into businesses, and just some years after starting to work at corporate, he realized that he wanted to get into entrepreneurship.


Chowdy was a food startup based in Toronto. It started super lean, by the founders preparing food in their own kitchen and delivering the meals to their friends.

The first version went so great that they were soon receiving strangers in their apartments who wanted to pick up their meals.

That's when they decided to transition to partnering up with cafes and bars where people could pick up the meals.


At its peak, Chowdy was making +$1.3M in ARR and selling 3400-3500 meals per week.

They had 1 chef, 5 cooks, and 1 driver to manage the whole operations.


Dragon’s Den is a Canadian TV show in which entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of VCs.

They got into the show almost by chance and Steve remembers it as a really bearable and fun experience.

Steve also shares the differences he identifies between the real experience of pitching to what appears on TV.


Steve believes that there's still potential for a business like Chowdy, though he believes the food industry is really challenging, despite its low barriers.

In this section, Steve shares why he thinks this happens.


Brandon and Steve talk about The Travel Brief, Steve's current business. It's a platform where travelers can share tips, advice, and information about different parts of the world.

It started in 2019 with 1000 monthly page views. They have since grown to +150k pages/month.

In this segment, Steve shares some details about the behind scenes of The Travel Brief, his motivations to build it and how has he grown it in a matter of months.


Steve gets the chance to interact with his young self form and tells him 3 things:

1) Not be so goal-oriented all the time.

2) Be calm. Nothing is the end of the world.

3) Be honest with yourself.

Learn the reasons for each of these.

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