An Epicurean Entrepreneur and Filmmaker
Food, everything epicurean and films have been a lifelong dream for Kevin Longa. Kevin began making films as a jolly, fat, little eightyearold. It wasn't until a wakeup call at the hospital that he realized he needed to get healthier, learn about where his food came from and who made it. Between film club meetings and swim practice in high school, Kevin hit the farms and food markets to create his first food documentary (http://tastewithkevin.com/kspage). Since then, his life has been an exploration of food and, more importantly, the people who make it.
“When I graduated college, it was the bleakest point of the economic crisis, and I kept getting job application rejection after rejection. In fact, I literally cried after getting rejected from Google. I decided to pursue my passion fulltime, and learn about the job creators themselves: the entrepreneurs.”
Kevin’s passion and business is TASTE, an online food media company. TASTE’s launch product is TASTE With Kevin Longa (or TASTE, for short). It’s a documentary series that features the true stories of food entrepreneurs around the world. Kevin recently launched a Kickstarter campaign and in less than 2 days TASTE raised more than 50% of its goal and is well on his way to 100%+.
From Draper University to Kickstarter Success Story and Beyond
Prior to the Kickstarter campaign, Kevin attended Draper University. It was during the “bleakest point of the economic crisis” when Kevin discovered DU and realized it was a special place that would help him take TASTE to the next level.
Kevin has always been fascinated with entrepreneurship. It all started when he cofounded Sigma Eta Pi, which at the time of its founding was the west coast’s first entrepreneurial fraternity. In Kevin’s opinion, this was odd for UCLA, because students were mostly taught how to think as a singular student or employee. In many lecturestyle classes, there was little time for teamwork and learning by doing.
“I loved UCLA, but I felt I needed a new way of thinking. There had to be another way to success than just take notes, study and repeat. That’s where Draper University comes in. The program helped me unlearn and relearn a new, more entrepreneurial way of thinking and operating.”
Pitch day was an amazing experience for Kevin. Not only did he get to see his teaser trailer on the big screen, he also got to see Bill Draper and a few other VCs eat fried worms from Thailand.
Kevin has raised a little more $45,000 for the TASTE documentary series, which has been successfully filmed in 16 countries across Europe, Asia and America.
From just two sneak preview episodes alone, the series has garnered twelve international film awards and screenings—in countries that include Ireland, Ukraine, Greece, Czech Republic and beyond.
From eating duck embryo that is boiled and consumed in the shell, to filming a ‘food hooker’ in Copenhagen and meeting a Jewish baker who fights anti Semitism with her cakes it's been a crazy journey for Kevin with highs, lows and risk. But all of it has been worth it for Kevin. He has been given the chance to film and collaborate with some wonderful food entrepreneurs.
“Draper University changed my life – from an aspiring, wideeyed thinker to an active, getstuffdone entrepreneur. This school is not your normal by the books, studylateforexams institution – and rightfully so. After decades of learning to get straight A's and never make a mistake, DU helped me understand a few things about business and life. It's ok to fail and try again, taking the unconventional route is often faster and more fun and you'll never have all of the answers so embrace uncertainty.”
To learn more about Kevin and his startup, TASTE, visit his Kickstarter. He will be offering limited rewards, discounts and private dinners with a Silicon Valley food startup venture capitalist (starting Tues, July 28th).