Success Story: Sean Wen & Andrew Ho

Posted on in Break Fast and Launch, Success Stories

Sean Wen and Andrew Ho grew up in the same suburb of Houston, although they didn’t know each other well. They reconnected at UT, where Andrew would throw crawfish boil parties that grew from small gatherings to hundreds of people. Everyone told Andrew he needed to start a food truck, but it wasn’t the right time.

Sean went into finance after college and then worked for Venture for America, experiencing startup culture and what it took to create a business. Andrew moved to Southeast Asia for three years and got in touch with his roots and his love of food. Sean often flew out to see Andrew and, on one trip, in the middle of the night at a snail stall in Saigon, they decided it was time to take Andrew’s crawfish prowess and Sean’s startup experience and finally make food their business. They both moved back to Texas and started doing crawfish boil pop-ups around Austin and San Antonio.

Sean knew a staff member at LaunchSA through a friend in the startup community. He encouraged them to apply to Break Fast and Launch (BFL), a culinary business accelerator program run by LaunchSA.

In the program, Sean and Andrew were able to learn from those around them. Andrew says that, “although you hear that you should make your own mistakes, we learned there were things we definitely shouldn’t do because, like, someone already told us that.”

Sean says that the most helpful thing they gained from BFL was a network of “incredible human beings and people who could contribute to what you’re doing.” He mentioned that the program helped with social media skills and basic accounting but the most unique part was the “cohort” of people he met. There were experts on butchering whole animals, coffee, and all sorts of other culinary specialties.

BFL also helped them determine that opening a restaurant was the right choice. Sean says, “The beauty of the program is that you can’t just go through the motions. You have to ask yourself if this is really what you want to do. It’s okay if it isn’t, but just the process of applying and going through [BFL] really lets you know. Take that leap, even if you don’t think you’re ready.”

Pinch Boil House is now open in downtown San Antonio, serving Southeast-Asian inspired bowls, sandwiches, and seafood boils.