We're chatting with Andrew Chau, the co-founder and CEO of Boba Guys, a national boba brand that’s bridging cultures through deliciously disarming beverages. If you live in the Bay Area, LA, or NYC, you’ve probably passed by -- or through -- a Boba Guys store. Today, Boba Guys has 18 immaculately designed retail locations, but as with most start-up stories, it has humble beginnings. Co-founder and CEO Andrew Chau grew up in ‘80s New Jersey, in a working-class neighborhood that was home to primarily Jewish and Italian families, where his parents ran a Chinese restaurant. Outside of food, the only Asian representation he saw were in Bruce Lee action films, courtesy of VHS tapes he'd rent from a video shop in a neighboring town. This changed when he moved to California, attended UC Berkeley, and got his start in marketing at retail and CPG companies, spanning Target, Walmart, Timbuk2, and Clorox. While running a boba brand had never been a part of the 5 year plan, when Andrew met his future co-founder Bin at Timbuk2, the two got to brainstorming what they could create together while sipping boba drinks, and soon, the boba concept became inescapable. Andrew kept his corporate job for the first 3 years of Boba Guys, before cutting the cord and going all in on growing the company. That said, if you ask Andrew what business he's in, it doesn't stop at boba. Boba Guys is ultimately about bridging cultures. Even with their national retail footprint, tens of thousands of Yelp reviews, and millions of loyal customers, Andrew has stayed true to the mission. Boba Guys doesn't franchise, nor have they taken outside money. Co-founders Andrew and Bin are in it for the long haul.
We talk with Andrew about his experience growing up Asian American in the ‘80s, the always worthwhile but often painful lessons he’s learned while making Boba Guys a household name, and unconventional ways for driving change in ways that feel authentic to who we are -- whether that be brazenly outspoken, stoically committed, or something in between. Stay tuned for an unfiltered conversation with one of the most forthcoming CEOs whom we’ve had the pleasure of chatting with, Andrew Chau.