Meet Amina Gilani, Co-Founder & COO of Sociavore

Each week, Female CoFounder features a female founder in the community. Follow along each week and learn from different founders and their journeys.

FcF: Tell us about yourself? 

Amina: I never pictured myself co-founding a software company. I thought I would pursue a long career in financial services. After graduating from Laurier's BBA program, I spent a decade working in progressive sales and product development roles at RBC, Manulife and Sun Life. I am so grateful for the opportunities and people I met at these three best-of-class companies.

I am a graduate of the Master of Economic Development and Innovation program at the University of Waterloo. I developed a keen interest in local economic development through volunteer positions at the Downtown Kitchener Action and Advisory Committee and the Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Association. Those roles sparked my passion to study economic development and help local economies thrive. My major research paper focused on the restaurant industry and its impact on local economies. I graduated from the program in October 2018. I was 7-months pregnant with my third child when I walked across the stage at convocation. It was a highlight for me. 

I am also part of a restaurant family. My in-laws have owned and operated family restaurants for decades. I have learned so much about the restaurant industry through my family.

FcF: What is Sociavore?

Amina:  Sociavore is a platform for restaurants to build the perfect guest experience online. Sociavore is built around the realities of operating a restaurant and makes it easy to deliver an amazing online guest experience. Restaurants can build and customize their own websites using the Sociavore website builder and themes. The Sociavore platform includes every website feature a restaurant needs including a menu manager, reservations, events, guest messaging, online ordering and more.

Sociavore is completely cloud-based and hosted, which means restaurants don't need to worry about upgrading software. When we add new features, all restaurants on the platform have access to them.

FcF: How did you come up with Sociavore?

Amina: We built Sociavore based on a need for our own family's restaurant. We couldn't find a website platform that provided best of class technology to independent restaurateurs. We decided to build it for our own family restaurant and have grown organically through word-of-mouth.

- Above: Sociavore platform in action on Cluny's website -

FcF: What were the first three steps you took after you knew you wanted to pursue this idea?

Amina: We spent a lot of time talking to restaurant owners to make sure we were building a product that they needed. We built an MVP based on the customer research and our own knowledge as restaurant owners. We went full-time on Sociavore!

FcF: If you are CoFounder, how did you meet your CoFounder? What do you look for in finding your CoFounders?

Amina: My co-founder is my husband, Thusenth. We met in grade 7. We worked on projects together all through high school and university. You spend a lot of time with your co-founder. Make sure you choose a co-founder that complements your skillset and pushes you to get better.

- Above: (Left to Right) Thusenth and Amina -

FcF: What advice do you have for other women who have a start-up idea or side project idea?

Amina: There is never a perfect time to start a new business. My co-founder (and husband) and I launched Sociavore in January 2018. We have 3 children under 5 (our 3rd baby was born in 2019).  We are currently participating in a Chicago-based start-up accelerator program called the Food Foundry. 

Starting and growing a business takes hard work, dedication and patience. I think you acquire a lot of the traits you need to be a successful founder through parenting. You learn how to manage your time, roll with the punches and be positive!

FcF: How can the Female CoFounder community help you?  

Amina: We would love more people to spread the word about Sociavore. When a restaurant operator finds our platform, they love it!

FcF: How can people get in touch with you?

Amina: You can check out Sociavore's website and instagram

You can also reach out to @Amina Gilani on the FCF slack channel!