Eating a meal at home can provide a great opportunity for conversation and fun, but if you do not know how to cook or have people with whom you can share the means, it is not quite as interesting. French startup VizEat, which went live in 2014 and currently claims 10,000 hosts and 50,000 members, connects people who are looking to enjoy a home-cooked meal and who might otherwise not have the opportunity.
In order to get a feel for VizEat, I did a sample search (Rome, in this case) and found that you can search by location, date, and price, but then narrow listings down much further by choosing the type of cuisine, language that the host speaks, dietary restrictions, and a number of options related to the building or setting itself. Clicking on a listing, I found information on the type of alcohol, dietary restriction, time for the meal, size of the party (minimum and maximum numbers of guests), and some biography information on the hobbies and interests of the host. Posting an invitation to the meal is completely free, as VizEat has opted to monetize the service by charging guests a 15% on top of whatever the host requires. Guests are eligible for a refund (full or partial) if they cancel, but it depends on when they do so.
Earlier this year, we profiled Norweigan startup Eat in Common, which offers a similar service. In examining the 2 platforms, a couple of key differences are in geographic focus, as Eat in Common has thus far focused on the Baltic states and Germany, as well the filters that VizEat offers, which help users to narrow their options down and find the perfect setting. VizEat, in comparison, has already gone global, operating from India, to Italy, to Marrakech, to Manchester, to New York.
VizEat reports that they have obtained 1 million Euro in funding from Eurovestech. Going forward, the startup says that they are planning to unveil apps for iOS (Q1 2016) and Android (Q2 2016), as well as expand their geographic focus to include all of Europe, several markets in southeast Asia (Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines), and Central and South America (Brazil, Argentina, and Peru).