East Asian Founded Retail Startups Revolutionizing America’s Shopping Landscape

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There’s an increasingly exciting wave of innovation in the retail industry, made even more significant by the rise of startups founded by East Asian entrepreneurs. Such startups are breaking new ground, amplifying minority voices, and paving the way for progression in various sectors. In today’s piece, we highlight a few of these trailblazers in the retail world—ten East Asian-founded startups that are not just flourishing in their respective fields but are also contributing to the economic, technological, and cultural landscape.

The entrepreneurs behind these startups come from various backgrounds, and their individual viewpoints and unique experiences contribute to the creation of diverse, inclusive, and innovative business models. From agriculture to e-commerce, artificial intelligence to blockchain, these startups redefine the conventional boundaries of retail and propel the industry towards an even more exciting future.

We’re proud to bring this array of innovators to our readers, showcasing their undying spirit and unwavering quest for better solutions. Each profile includes a brief bio, details about the founders and, where available, links to their websites and social media handles. Let’s begin, and celebrate these industry pioneers.

Rumi Spice

Rumi Spice is a spice company that brings flavorful, ethically sourced, and socially responsible spices from Afghanistan to customers. Founded by Carol Wang, Emily Miller, Keith Alaniz, and Kimberly Jung, this startup provides countless jobs to Afghan farmers and women involved in spice harvesting and processing. Their profits are reinvested into building the agricultural and manufacturing infrastructure of Afghanistan. Feel free to follow them on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Otaku Lamps

Based in Los Angeles, California, Otaku Lamps creates collectible LED lighting products licensed from over 20+ Japanese and Korean IPs. The startup is licensed with Crunchyroll, Funimation, VIZ Media, LINE FRIENDS, Aniplex and many more. LED Lamps have become one of the biggest new product lines in the official merchandise industry. Their social media presence can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Newchip, founded by Andrew Ryan, Nihar Patel, and Travis Brodeen, is a global remote startup accelerator based in Austin, Texas. This app-based venture targets the retail and software sectors. Stay updated with their activities on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


MakersPlace, founded by Dannie Chu, Ryoma Ito, and Yash Nelapati, empowers digital creators through an authentic and unique digital creation platform backed by blockchain technology. Based in San Francisco, California, this startup connects creators with fans and collectors worldwide. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Headquartered in New York, Caper transforms physical retail by compacting Amazon-Go’s technology into a smart shopping cart. Founded by Lindon Gao and York Yang, Caper lets shoppers fill up their grocery carts and check out without a cashier. Find them on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Based in New York, iambic is revolutionizing shoe-making. Founders Chaudhry Raza Hassan and Maeve Wang are creating artisan-perfected, tech-driven shoes that fit the exact movements, needs, and lifestyle of wearers. Visit their LinkedIn page to learn more.


Arizona-based startup RadiusAI, founded by Aykut Dengi, Bobby Chowdary, Bryan Campo, and Jeff Cox, provides advanced analytics through artificial intelligence. They aim to revolutionize retail analytics both inside and outside stores. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Rooted in Korean skincare rituals, Melixir is a beauty brand that creates 100% vegan and sustainable plant-based skincare products. Founded by Hana Lee in San Francisco, this company designs innovative products with proprietary ingredients for sensitive skin.

Novel Farms

Co-founded by Michelle S. Lu, PhD, and Nieves Martinez Marshall, PhD, Novel Farms uses microbial fermentation to develop cruelty-free, tasty, and inexpensive bioscaffolds for cell-based meat products. Their mission? To transform cell-based meat consumption into a sought-after culinary experience for conscious eaters. Follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Visit Gluon to explore their interconnected network of businesses, consumers, and vehicles. Founded by Hakam Misson, Narinder Bajwa, Sameer Misson, and Stuart Hockman, Gluon develops IoT solutions that connect disparate organizations with other industries. Check out their Facebook page for more updates.

MyMarkit Inc.

MyMarkit Inc., founded by Nan Zhang, mines ledgers directly from live transactions across various points of commerce to create the first transactional blockchain. Through various innovative products, MyMarkit enables everyday access to blockchain utility. Keep up with their activities on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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