Rising StarRising Star: Tianli Zhang of iTogos Aims to Maximize Your Food Truck Experience

Tianli Zhang of iTogos
Tianli Zhang, founder of iTogos.

Good food comes to those who wait. At least, that seems to be the guiding mantra of Portlandia’s food truck experience. Between waiting in line and waiting for our order, those of us pressed for time often have only a few scant minutes to wolf down our lunch.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to more thoroughly enjoy our hard-earned foodie goodness?

This may soon be a possibility, if Tianli Zhang realizes his vision. His company, iTogos, which recently made the first cut in OEN’s Angel Oregon Spring 2015 Program, offers a mobile app to allow food truck fans to order ahead and avoid the lines.

Here’s more from Tianli:

The spark that inspired the birth of your concept: During my first term at Portland State University, I had three classes every Tuesday, and McDonald’s was the only option available to me because of my limited lunch time. There are lot of food carts and small restaurants around PSU, and I thought if I could order ahead and pick up during my break, I wouldn’t have to wait anymore. That’s how I hit upon the concept of a food ordering mobile app, with time-saving as its first priority.

How you differentiate yourself from your competition: There are similar apps out there, but iTogos is different in that it targets small food vendors; prioritizes time-saving; incentivizes customer loyalty with a point system for ordering and sharing; and provides full access to the menu, with online payment options.

Your biggest success: We won “Best Hack 2014” from the Seattle Entrepreneurship Club in December 2014.

What keeps you up at night: I can’t keep myself from thinking about iTogos. In fact, I recently had a dream in which I was editing the iTogos webpage while talking on the phone, and suddenly an amazing sales and promotion idea came to me. I was very excited, but I couldn’t find a pen to write it down. Then I woke up, but sadly I had forgotten the great idea I’d had in my dream. It was around 3 a.m.

Your biggest inspiration: Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, said he was rejected by over 30 investors in the United States. I will keep fighting until I meet my 31st investor!

Your #1 piece of advice for a budding entrepreneur: Just do it.

What wild success looks like: All small food vendors in the world use iTogos. People enjoy eating and socializing during their lunch break, instead of waiting in line.

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