Photo by Scott Council

Raissa Nebie
Age 31
Company Spoondate
Description Spoondate lets you explore your
culinary cravings and meet new people at the same time.

Raissa Nebie has always been a risk taker. The intrepid nature of this Côte d’Ivoire émigré with roots in Burkina Faso has taken her to the halls of Howard University, the rough-and-tumble offices of Wall Street, and the kitchens of the top-rated French Culinary Institute in New York City. She even left her position as a private equity associate to pursue her passion for fine cooking at Le Citrus Etoile, located steps from the Champs Elysées in Paris.

She quickly discovered that preparing food didn’t prove as rewarding as bringing people together through food. That epiphany led her to the idea for Spoondate–an online/mobile, location-based service helping food lovers make social and romantic connections.

“Culinary school led me to the Web,” says the 31-year-old entrepreneur. “I came home one evening and booked a one-way ticket. I got to San Francisco at the end of last summer and didn’t have a clue about what the city was about. I just knew there were lots of engineers.” But Nebie has now come to understand what so many entrepreneurs knew: Silicon Valley is to tech startups what Hollywood is to budding filmmakers. It’s the place where dreams come to life.

Nebie, who hadn’t used a computer before the age of 18, decided to learn several Internet languages, including CSS, HTML, and Java Script, enabling her to craft the user interface she wants her audience to experience.

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