By Alyssa Tomfohrde
Ninh Tran, CEO and founder of Trucksome.com, is a twenty four year-old, self-proclaimed foodie who recalls his relatives in Vietnam “pushing food carts to make their rice money and feed the family.” These childhood recollections grew into a respect for the basic business concept, “what you don’t sell, you eat.” Ninh is full of sincerity when he says that in his heart, he wants to solve poverty. His love of street food and the entrepreneurial spirit sparked the idea for Trucksome. Trucksome is a free app that tracks food trucks in real time.
Ninh had his first California food truck experience at Old World who served him up Eastern European and Jewish soul food out the window of a powder blue truck. Perhaps it was the Rueben Tacos or Schnitzelwiches that inspired him.
Ninh loved having easy access to a variety of delicious new foods. He wanted to be a part of this street food culture that was reminiscent of his upbringing in Vietnam and young adult life in the Czech Republic. It was amazing to him that professionally trained chefs who could not afford to open a brick and mortar restaurant, were able polish up an old truck and bring their food to the public. They were making decent money and proudly owning their own businesses with very little initial investment. Many truck owners are not that tech savvy and welcome any assistance from a guy like Ninh who wants to help point customers in their direction.
Trucksome began on laptops at friends houses, college classrooms and an old church office in Oakland. Ninh went to UC Berkeley and started pitching his dream to student developers and programmers. Haoxin Li believed in him enough to build it for him and is now the CTO. They created a platform that enables the app to track trucks in real time more accurately than their competitor.
As a startup company, the founders and employees are volunteering their time because they believe Trucksome will succeed. They believe that at the very least, they will always know where to find the most delicious food trucks, such as Lil Burma. Lil Burma serves a unique chicken curry for a reasonable price that you won’t get anywhere else, Ninh says.
Nowadays you can find Ninh following around food trucks, adding them to his app, befriending them as he goes. He is so charismatic that strangers are willing to hand him their phones and let him install the app for them. It only takes a moment but he builds momentum with each installation. He loves what he does so much that he is on a first name basis with the owner of the SOMA Streetfood Park, the only permanent food truck location in the Bay Area.
More and more food trucks are being listed by the day and the app should be fully stocked within a few months for the official launch. iPhone users can now download it for free on iTunes and a beta version can be accessed on Androids at Trucksome.com.