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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives
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Yakir Gola

Co-Founder & CEO

Gopuff

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Founded: 2013

Industry: Commerce

Yakir Gola learned entrepreneurship by helping run his father’s cash-for-gold business, instilling a strong work ethic and commitment to success.

As a student at Drexel University, Gola recognized the lack of a convenient delivery service for everyday snacks and supplies. He and his friend Rafael Ilishayev founded Gopuff in 2013. They bootstrapped the business with $50,000 from selling and delivering a family friend’s old office furniture, making the first few thousand deliveries themselves. This hands-on approach allowed them to build a profitable business from the ground up before seeking outside capital for expansion. Within 24 months, Gopuff gained 25,000 customers in Philadelphia and expanded to college campuses in Washington, D.C., and Boston.

Today, with Gola as chief executive officer, Gopuff ’s instant commerce platform delivers thousands of everyday products to customers in minutes. With micro-fulfillment centers strategically located, Gopuff ensures quick and affordable delivery of products. The company has become the go-to destination for customers seeking instant gratification, whether it’s midnight cold medicine, a wine restock during a dinner party or an afternoon ice cream treat, the business said.

Gola and Ilishayev have forged partnerships with industry giants such as Uber, Drizly, Grubhub, Snap, Meta and TikTok, expanding Gopuff ’s reach and allowing customers to access its services through various channels. The company has also ventured into private label brands and created initiatives like Gopuff Kitchens and Put Me On, a small business accelerator program for minority and underrepresented entrepreneurs.

The company is also the platform of choice for creator- and celebrity-owned brands, having co- created and launched Good Eat’n with NBA All- Star Chris Paul and helped launch and promote products from Selena Gomez, James Harden, Cardi B, Emma Chamberlain and MrBeast, among many others.

Gopuff has expanded into additional categories such as beauty, baby and pet products, electronics, over-the-counter medications and groceries. Gopuff has also acquired BevMo! and Liquor Barn to provide customers with a selection of alcoholic beverages alongside their everyday essentials.

“Rafael and Yakir created the category for instant commerce and have spent the past 10 years optimizing that model, scaling and strengthening the business,” the company said. “They were the first to launch a truly vertically integrated business — one in which Gopuff owns the inventory it sells and operates its own micro-fulfillment centers, making margin on the products it sells and its advertising business, among other things.”

Gola is committed to giving back to the communities Gopuff serves. In 2022, Gopuff donated nearly 1.2 million pounds of food, committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to disaster relief and donated thousands of COVID-19 test kits, toiletries, personal care items and school supplies to communities in need. Gola’s philanthropic endeavors extend to his alma mater, Drexel University, where he is involved with the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship and Chabad Serving Drexel University.

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Did you know?

Rafael and Yakir often slept in the first micro-fulfillment centers and made the first several thousand Gopuff deliveries themselves.

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