Susan Moskowitz doesn’t fit the mold of a typical Silicon Valley entrepreneur– she owns no hoodies or cool sneakers, and her most recent job was working as a grants administrator at Stanford University.

Stanford GSB Ignite program provides inspiration and connection


But underneath Susan’s exterior hides an youthful risk taker who is driven by the desire to try new things. “I’ve had so many different careers and always felt like an entrepreneur,” explains Susan. “So when I heard about the Stanford Ignite program that trains people about how to start businesses, I was hooked.” Stanford Ignite is a 100-hour entrepreneurial training program taught by faculty from the Stanford GSB that teaches innovators to formulate, develop, and commercialize their ideas.

Although the information session for Ignite attracted over 150 people, not one with a single gray hair,

Susan applied anyway. “I just assumed I would not get in because I was too old,” she said. “So when I was accepted, I was literally shocked.”

She went through Stanford Ignite in 2013, unsure of which idea she wanted to start, but certain that she would emerge with new skills and connections to get a business off the ground. While Susan was first intimidated by the youth and savviness of her fellow Ignite classmates, a trip to the Old Pro showed the group that she was not afraid of challenges. “I had lived in Palo Alto for 37 years and never been to the Old Pro before,” Susan remembers. “But when it was time for me to ride the mechanical bull, I got over my fear and did it. From then on, I felt part of the group and became an active participant.”

Thinking outside the box runs in the family

Susan’s creative yen seems to be genetic, as her son Michael Phillips Moskowitz sold his company to eBay and now works as the site’s Chief Curator, her daughter Amy spent time at Ideo and now creates electronic music, and her husband Peter is a clinical professor in the Radiology Department at Stanford Hospital who also has a business as a career coach for doctors.

Stop by the Downtown Farmer’s Market on May 23 for a free sample and see why Mrs. Moskowitz’s Munchies are a Palo Alto snack worth trying!
Through Ignite, Susan decided to restart a business she ran in the 1990s called Mrs. Moskowitz’s Munchies, a snack food made from chocolate, nuts and matzoh.

Mrs. Moskowitz’s Munchies 2.0: direct to consumers

During the first incarnation of Mrs. Moskowitz’s Munchies,

Susan was featured in the New York Times, managed to land distribution in Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus, and won a Finalist award from the International Fancy Food and Confection Show. Despite all this success, she ended up putting her food business aside eventually due to the challenges of turning a profit in an ever-more competitive food landscape.

But her Ignite classmates encouraged Susan to bring Mrs. Moskowitz’s Munchies back to life as a direct to consumer product, bypassing the expensive food distribution process and selling her unique snack at farmer’s markets and via e-commerce. You can find Susan and her delicious Munchies every other Saturday at the Downtown Farmer’s Market, or buy online through the company’s website.The Munchies are also a strong seller at the Stanford GSB’s Arbuckle Cafe, which is arguably ground zero for the next new thing in tech. Maybe they are, as Susan claims, “fuel for innovators,” but whether you’re looking to fuel your next start up or just your next bike ride, check out this yummy new local snack by a unique Palo Alto entrepreneur.