Q&A with CEO and Co-Founder of Gimme
Gimme’s Co-Founder and CEO, Cory Hewett, sits down with Nicolas Terwindt for a quick catch-up on the Gimme journey thus far.
A Sit-Down With Cory Hewett
I recently sat down with Gimme’s Co-Founder and CEO, Cory Hewett. Cory, a Georgia native, has been a vending machine aficionado since middle school. Having started Gimme in 2014, the industry has awarded Gimme the “Product of the Year” award three of the last four years. Gimme is an AI-enabled markets and vending inventory control platform designed to help food service at the national scale. Customers are big food brands you see on grocery shelves and multistate food service operators such as those who run markets and cafeterias in office buildings or factories. The goal of Gimme is ensuring that the employees of major food companies are fed. Check out the interview below:
1. How did you get into the food service industry?
When I was in middle school, a friend of mine convinced me to look into owning a gumball machine by telling me that I could make money while I’m in school, so I wouldn’t have to get a job. I loved the idea, and my parents ended up helping me buy a 6-foot-tall spiral machine (the ones where you drop a quarter in it, and the gumball does loops around and then gets caught in the trap door at the bottom). I was obsessed! I’ve really been working on it ever since.
2. What's your favorite part of being the CEO of Gimme?
I love being able to see how the team is growing. An exciting recent news is that one of my senior female employees is about to be named ‘Woman of the Industry’. When I first started the company, there was a bit of selfishness thinking, “I’m in charge of an entire team and I get to control how to do things.” However, over the last couple of years I’ve learned so much, and have actually been able to hire key employees and given them the autonomy and authority to do things that help establish their careers. Seeing these incredible people wow the customers or distinguish themselves because they get to do things they wouldn’t get to do at a larger company is something I love to watch. As a leader, it makes me really, really proud to see them do that! A couple months before, two of our team members got named “Top Pro’s to Know”, and this is honestly my favorite part of being the CEO, it’s seeing them grow.
3. What is one of the most important lessons learned that you can single out from your past or current ventures?
Culture. The value of culture. Specifically, I know David Cummings had a quote where he said, “The key is to work with positive people.” Our key is working with relentless people. These are people who are super determined, they have a chip on their shoulder, and would run through a wall if it gets them to solve the problem. Every time we’ve made a hire that was a great culture fit, they seem to be able to do anything. As an experienced founder, I’ve made hiring mistakes such as hiring people that are great on paper, but aren’t a great culture fit and that’s been disastrous.
4. Describe your Gimme journey thus far in 10 words or less?
High highs, low lows, magic for certain moments… Untradable!
5. What's your favorite vending machine snack?
Definitely the new Coca Cola Dark Coffee. Served in a tall can, a brand-new product in the market and they are delicious... Dangerously delicious to me.
Cory and the Gimme team have done an incredible job growing to date and in April were named the Top Machine Learning Company in Georgia.
Following the chat, Cory had a few asks:
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