Meals are some of the most important times of the day for many people, offering an opportunity for quality discussion with the people we love. Norwegian startup Eat in Common wants to shake up this idea, offering a platform that allows people to organize eating events with complete strangers, whether you cook a dinner in your home or want to go have a picnic, and interact with types of people whom you may never encounter on a typical day.
Many of the events organized through Eat in Common seem to be focused on a particular culture or type of food, but hosts are free to cook what they wish. Profiles for the event include a description of the event, the type (whether outdoors, a brunch, dinner, or even full-course dinner), the location, time, cost, and who will be in attendance. The service appears to be pretty transparent, with guests and hosts creating profiles, in which they include their (first) name, a photo, and a general description of themselves. Prices for meals vary widely, depending on the city and the group. In Copenhagen, for example, open dinners run from 60-470 DKK (roughly $9-$71) for a ticket. However, most previous dinners seem to range between $15-$40. In an effort to eliminate fake dinners, Eat in Common only pays hosts 1-3 days after the dinner is held. In each case, Eat in Common takes a 15% service fee on private dinners and 20% fee on commercial outings.
Although co-founder Metteliva Sofia Henningsen declined to reveal how much funding they have obtained, she would say that they have backing from Innovation Norway, which is the investment arm of the Norwegian government.
Eat in Common launched in Scandinavia back in April 2013 and currently claims more than 2,000 users. While they currently still operate in that region, they are beginning to expand, moving into Germany, the Baltic states, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition to geographic expansion, they are planning to roll out a new version of their website this summer, expanding their team, and are talking with municipalities and companies about possible partnerships.