Meet The Fintech Founder Helping Entrepreneurs Of Color Scale Their Food Trucks Businesses

We’ve all been there before: we have found THE most delicious food truck by chance in our neighborhood, but when we tried to find it again, it was nowhere to be seen. So we tried a bit of social media stalking to see if we could track it down to meet it at its next location. Think Jon Favreau and John Leguizamo in the movie ‘Chef’. Well now we don’t have to drive ourselves into a frenzy trying to track our fave food trucks, and instead spend more time planning our next nom session, thanks to the team behind Goodfynd – a payments platform for food trucks that connects foodies with their favorite mobile restaurants.

Sofiat Abdulrazaaq is co-founder and CEO of Goodfynd, who recognized that while food trucks have been gaining popularity in recent years, surprisingly, there hasn’t been any real way to track their location. The solution: Goodfynd.

An impact-first executive, Sofiat’s entry into the fintech industry was born by her desire to pair her foodie status with an easy-to-use payments platform that would help food truck operators and entrepreneurs, many of them immigrants and people of color, dramatically scale operations. 

Last year, Sofiat and her co-founders raised $1.8 million in their seed round, while in 2021, Black entrepreneurs received a mere 1.2% of the record $147 billion in venture capital invested in America. 

Sofiat brings a decade of experience translating business goals into developed products in her current role. Prior to helping establish Goodfynd, she served as a product lead at The College Board, responsible for strategic and technical product management. 

We had the chance to speak with Sofiat about her entry into the fintech world, her passion to elevate the entrepreneurs of color in the food truck world, and what her fave food truck experience is!

Do you remember your first experience at a food truck, and what you loved most about it?

Yes, it was at Lattimore’s Funnel Cakes. They make the most delicious funnel cakes and strawberry lemonades. It reminded me of being back home in Richmond, VA, at our annual festival at Richmond Raceway. It was the only place you could get funnel cakes in Richmond during the summers. When I had it on a cold winter day, it gave me all the nostalgia and feels. 

How did the idea for Goodfynd come about? Can you share any personal experience that you incorporated into the business idea?

The idea came from a personal experience! Our co-founder, Kyle, went to a food truck and loved the food, but couldn’t find the food truck again. He then reached out to our current CTO, Lemaire, and explained the issue. Lemaire told Kyle that he could design and build a solution. I later came on board to manage the operations side. It literally all started from wanting to locate food trucks in real time, because we genuinely loved eating at them. 

There are many food truck owners who are immigrants and people of color. Why was it important for you to support them especially, and create a way for these owners to sustain their loyal fan base?

I am a first generation American, and many of my immigrant family members came to America in search of an American dream. A lot of them were working in the food space because it did not require them to speak perfect English, or have graduated from college, etc. So helping entrepreneurs who are majority Black and Brown people, have a path to increase visibility and increase success is something I will always want to do.

In my opinion, they are the worthiest segment of the restaurant industry. They are all largely overlooked by technology. I think that is indicative of life for immigrants, for Black, and Brown individuals, just generally. I am building for people that look like me and my family. 

Clearly impact is a key aspect of your business outlook. Can you tell us why more entrepreneurs need to be impact-minded, and how it can actually help their bottom line? 

I think true passion comes from the impact that you create. You can go after money, and then one day you wake up, have enough money, and you do not want to do it anymore. Impact actually drives passion and change. When things are hard and things get tough, when you are trying to make an impact–it just makes it all the more powerful, makes you more innovative, more creative, and gives you a more stick-to-it-ness. And so I think impact minded founders build better products,  generally because they’re doing it for the right reasons. 

What was the investor and funding process like for you as a woman of color? What did the rooms you walked into predominantly look like?

The rooms I walked into looked predominantly white. But I have a unique founder experience, where most of the investors I interacted with early on, were white women. Being able to talk to investors that were women, and could relate on that path, was very helpful for me. However, as a whole, I did see very little investors on my path to being venture-backed.

I feel like you can’t go into investment thinking so deeply about the fact that you are behind the 8 ball. You have to go in there with the knowledge of all that you have– the best product, the best service, and the best team for the job. So no matter who’s in the role, whether they be white, Black, Brown, whomever, what’s important is what you can build and what you can create. If the person on the other side understands what you’re trying to build, what you’re trying to create, and can buy into that vision, it’s because they believe that you’re the best team. And that, to me, goes beyond background.

Names like Zuckerberg, Jobs, Gates, Kalanick etc are often first that come to mind for many people when they hear “entrepreneur”. But they aren’t the only world-changers. Who are some of your inspirational entrepreneur role models (especially women of color or minorities), and what should we know them for?

So from a well known perspective, I love what I’m seeing in the sports and music industry. People who are leveraging their wealth to become entrepreneurs in their own right, and also funders. People like Rihanna, people like Serena Williams, people like Beyonce, people like Oprah Winfrey–all have either created funds, or are invested in funds, and are trying to pay their success forward. They are also elevating companies that are outside of the normal investment cycles. And so, that’s really, really amazing and impactful to see.

But everything that I’ve learned about being a woman entrepreneur, I’ve learned from my grandmother and I’ve learned from my mom. Seeing them stick to it, and seeing them be able to handle multiple roles, and do so effortlessly while raising a family and pouring into the people that they love. My great grandmother was an entrepreneur, and I grew up listening to her stories and understanding what that meant for me. So regardless of who is impactful in terms of like a celebrity, I find my inspiration from the women that raised me, and built me into who I am today.

When we think of the entrepreneur landscape and business world, it is still fairly white and male dominated, although that is changing. How do you hope to continue pushing for change through Goodfynd?

I want to live in a world one day where I’m not an exception, I’m the norm amongst the norm.  I’m not looking to be something that sticks out, but to be a part of a changing landscape that looks more diverse writ large, and I think my responsibility in that is to be a successful founder, one that is that builds really dope tech, that people can utilize every day and rely on, and love, and share. But also by being reliable and coachable.

I want us to be people that investors, as well, as my customers, believe in. My job is to be successful not only as a CEO, but as a founder. I will continue to lift as I climb. That’s my responsibility and as I continue to do that well, hopefully more people are willing to take a chance on people that look like me because they’re getting the value that they expect for someone, from both a customer perspective, as well as from an investor perspective.

How do you find the food trucks to be part of the company and bring them on board?

From a variety of sources, from direct outreach to indirect outreach, to word of mouth. 

What are your favorite food trucks to buy from?

Lattimore’s Funnel Cakes, District Small Bites, DC Slices, Fly Pizza, Jambalaya Brothers, and the list goes on. There are too many for me to count and say in one post! Food truck food is amongst the best food I have ever had, it is the most authentic, and I always feel like I am eating from all over the world. 

Hungry for more? You can track all your fave food trucks in one location on the Goodfynd app!

Comments are closed.