About the Founders
I was born in China but immigrated to the US when I was 8. Both my parents are academic scholars, and after the Tiananmen Square Massacre, they fled the country in fear of political repression. Even though both my parents were ph.Ds in their field, we still didn’t have a lot while I was growing up. That motivated me to work really hard; I got an ivy league degree and graduated with a job in investment banking on Wall Street. The hours were tough, but I made enough money to pay back all my student loans within the first year; My goal was to be “debt-free by 23!”
In 2016, my life took a turn when my boyfriend (now husband) at the time was diagnosed with a rare stage 4 gastric cancer. I was devastated, seeing him struggle on the brink of death after multiple rounds of chemo and surgery, it showed me just how mortal we all are. Even though I was still working long hours at the time, I struggled to find any sense of meaning in what I was doing.
In 2018, when my husband’s condition stabilized a bit more thanks to a life-saving targeted chemo drug, we took a trip to South East Asia to visit his family. It was my first time there, and I was absolutely blown away by the warm culture and delicious food. Like any good tourist, I filled suitcases full of packaged foods & snacks to bring back, knowing that it would be nearly impossible to find anything like it in the U.S. After coming back, my stash barely lasted me a week, and I thought, “I can’t be the only person with this problem” – and I was right. So, I took a chance and left my finance job to start Tochi – a platform to celebrate traditional & hyperlocal Asian flavors through everyone’s favorite: snacks! With this, we hope to offer a small glimpse into the richness and vibrancy of the cultures that inspire them. Especially during this time in our country when there’s so much misunderstanding and discrimination, we want to Tochi to help bring people together, and forget about our differences by sharing something unique and delicious 🙂
About Tochi Snacks
Asian & Asian Americans are the fastest growing consumer segment in the U.S., but Asian culture still remains largely absent from today’s natural foods space. We created Tochi to fill that void, serving up high-quality snacks featuring traditional and hyperlocal Asian flavors in a modern way. Inspired by the cuisines of our hometown Singapore, we launched our first flavor line featuring none-other than the uniquely delicious, salted egg. With all this momentum, we’re on track to launch 3 new flavor lines early next year. Our mission is for Tochi to be the to-go-to snacks brand that’s representing the vibrancy of Asian culture in natural foods.
Dina Shi, Ian Seah, Marc Seah
About the Founders