Noah Wossen

Bringing in That Dough

My freshman year at Pepperdine I launched ZippieCookie, an on campus cookie delivery service that operated from 7:30PM to 1AM.

We baked the cookies entirely from scratch about 200 -300 cookies per night. It was a huge hit. We built out a delivery team, partnered with the University to use their industrial kitchen, and even got investment from some of the departments.

It was a blast, but there was definitely a trial and error period when it came to perfecting the recipes. Our menu consisted of about five different cookies – chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, sugar, oatmeal raisin, lemon bars, and sometimes ice cream cookie sandwiches.

[Nobody & Partners: Do you still make those cookie recipes…will you ever just whip up cookies yourself?]

So, I’m actually a vegan now.

[Awkward silence.]

What Happened Next?

When I graduated college in 2017, ZippieCookie dissolved. It felt right to put an end to it, but it’s funny because people will still ask me about Zippie and if it’s coming back.

I went right into banking after college, but I didn’t find it fulfilling. I wanted to build something again. Long story short, I got a call from a friend who was building a startup. She had received $3M in funding from Founders Fund and Greycroft and needed a cofounder.

A month later, I was on a plane to California and became a cofounder of lumasol.

Illuminating on lumasol

lumasol is a direct-to-consumer, SPF company. I was there for about a year, but I ended up leaving. It was a difficult decision but the right decision.

You know, the other cofounder is my friend from undergrad. We are good friends but not good business partners. We come from different backgrounds. We look at things from very different lenses. Our approach to leadership and communication is very different. I decided that leaving lumasol was both in my best interest and the company’s. I left a few months after we officially launched.

Do I regret the decision? Not at all. I think it was probably one of the greatest decisions. There’s a difference between dangerous and scary. It was really scary to leave a really secure, stable job with great income and tons of opportunity; lumasol was an awesome business that I played a huge role in building from the ground up, but the decision to leave wasn’t dangerous.

I think it’s detrimental when you allow fear to control your decisions.

The Process of Finding a Cofounder

You’ve probably heard this before, but it really is like dating.

When you’re looking for a cofounder, you’re bringing someone into your life in a very intimate way. You’re going to be working with this person day-after-day, nonstop

You have to make sure that you enjoy being around them. You need to know what this person is like when they’re sad or angry.

How do they react when they’re frustrated? What is their working style? Their communication style?

It’s also really important to understand how this person thinks. How do they operate and perform under stress? Once you start doing that due diligence process, you have to ask yourself a series of questions: How would I respond? Could I tolerate X,Y, or Z? Would that push me to my limit or would it energize me and make me work harder?

Working Hard and Looking to The Future

When I think of resilience, hard work, determination, perseverance, confidence, I think of my mom. She’s an immigrant and raised me as a single parent. I’m an only child, so we have a very close relationship. She’s faced things that are for more challenging than I’ll ever have to do – to raise me as stubborn as I am, in a new country.

Needless to say, I’m excited about the future. There is a lot of opportunity out there. I’m actually working on something new right now which I’m pumped about.