SET TING THE TABLE
I’m a first-generation American. My par-
ents emigrated from Iran to the U.S. in 1976
so my father could study at American Uni-
versity. They intended to go back, but then
the revolution there intensified in 1978, four
years before I was born, and they didn’t.
My father had been in the Air Force in Iran.
My family gave up so much to come here,
to provide for me. That’s always in the back
of my mind. I couldn’t settle for being aver-
age. I wanted to make my mark.
I’ve always been excited by hospitality.
A lot of first-generation Americans feel this
way, I think. You have your one culture at
home, another where you go to school, and
then there is a third culture you create, to
bridge the others. For me, bridging happened in restaurants. Going out to eat was
the only experience I had when I was young
that made me feel I was bringing my parents
into my world.
I started out as a web designer and consul-
tant, and started taking on restaurant clients.
When Krystle Mobayeni launched BentoBox—which
helps restaurants build state-of-the-art websites—her
experience in hospitality was mostly limited to dining out. Today, her startup serves more than 4,500 restaurants worldwide. She’s succeeded by persevering
through a time she thought her company might lose everything—and because of the great sacrifices her
parents made for her. —AS TOLD TO ZOË HENRY
BentoBox co-founder Krystle
Mobayeni, the daughter of Iranian
immigrants, built a successful
company by solving some nagging
problems for her customers.