We wanted to help people save money and live longer by cooking habitually.

Over 15 months we launched an MVP, ran a test kitchen, developed a responsive web app and native iOS app, ran marketing experiments to acquire users, and temporarily offered grocery delivery.

We were one of 200 companies out of over 10,000 to receive an interview with YCombinator and received hundreds of heartfelt emails from happy users.

While the mission made sense, the business model ultimately did not. In the process we got to learn from every first startup mistake in the book.

What We Did

  • User testing/research
  • UX and UI design for a web app and native iOS app
  • Front-end development
  • Logo and brand design
  • Ran social and referral marketing experiments to acquire users
  • Ran a test kitchen
  • Pitched to VC firms and startup competitions
  • Hired employees and managed a network of freelancers


  • Acquired 3500+ users
  • Raised $40,000 in funding from VCs
  • Developed 300 unique recipes
  • Managed entire creative process from branding to app design and front-end development
  • Interviewed with YCombinator

From top down: Sketching mobile app user flows; figuring out personas with a post-it note exercise; setting up the test kitchen; preparing for a tasting dinner with users to get feedback on meals created in the test kitchen.


Before coding, we create wireframes to get user feedback.


Print collateral illustrating Cookin’s brand elements. We chose bright natural colors with contrasting dark grey and white for a punchy, bold feel. We wanted to highlight the beautiful photos that came from the test kitchen.


Final designs for the mobile web app. There’s a video for every step that makes it super easy to follow along.

We constantly tested different iterations of our landing page. This is the most recent version.


“It’s a really amazing tool for helping me save money and eat healthier. I’ve been having issues with my weight and keeping track of what I eat, but this helps me manage my diet while staying in budget. I’ve also been loving learning how to cook!”

Nathan P., Cookin user

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