Welcome to TL;DR (Tracy’s Latest Discussion Recap), our new series keeping you up to date on thought leadership from Tracy Lawrence, CEO & Co-Founder of Chewse.

Chewse recently turned 8, and we’re growing (and hiring!) fast. But what makes it all possible? What keeps us growing? Two words: Love and Excellence.

We’ve talked about our love and excellence culture before (see: here). “Love” means caring about each other, and we can’t care about each other without holding each other to our highest potential (hence; “Excellence”). But becoming a love and excellence company wasn’t an easy journey. In fact, our mission of making sure no one eats alone comes from a very vulnerable place: Tracy’s experience with childhood bullying. In a recent conversation with Forbes, Tracy said:

“I went to a small school with about 40 students in total. I found myself being friends with the girls who were outsiders… But doing this actually made me an outsider myself. The ‘in’ girl group bullied me so hard, I used to eat lunch alone in the bathroom.”

Tracy’s experience eating alone in the bathroom led directly to where she is now: creating a company that makes sure no one has to eat lunch alone. But, even with the Chewse mission in mind, it wasn’t an easy journey. During the investment process, investors told Tracy she wasn’t “out for blood” – as she tells it:

“We had an investor who was at the final stages of diligence to potentially invest in our company. He had interviewed customers, I had spoken with his business partner, and he was about to visit the team. He called me up that day and said, ‘I interviewed your customers, and they love the service. They said it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to them at work. Unfortunately, we can’t invest.’”

“I was floored. ‘Why not?’ I asked. ‘This is a tough market that requires a ton of hand-to-hand combat. And we don’t have conviction in the team because we don’t think you’re out for blood.'”

These experiences and others led Tracy to build the company Chewse is today. To learn more, read the full Forbes interview here.