VizEat, a startup that helps people meet and eat home-cooked meals with locals, has received a fresh funding round of €3.8 million.
The round included participation by British investment firm Eurovestech, which had previously pitched in to the startups €1m seed funding round.
VizEat says it enables 20,000 hosts to provide food experiences, such as home-cooked suppers, cooking classes, and food-themed walking tours. It expects that number will be 80,000 hosts by year-end. That gives it bigger scale than some other competitors, like EatWith and BiteMojo.
A turning point for the company was last winter when it launched VizEat for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions). It found that some hosts would be willing to accept guests without approving them in advance. The idea is to be able to scale up a system where, say, convention-goers in a group of between 50 to 1,000 people can be dispersed for home-cooked meals in locals' homes. That would supplement the seasonality of leisure tourism traffic.
The company still has a European focus, with a website that works in five European languages, though it says it has hosts in 110 countries. It faces competition overseas from companies like WithLocals (see TLabs) in Asia.
The new money is already being put to use. The social dining network has added a new chief marketing officer, Pierrine Griffiths, who previously was head of mobile acquisition marketing at Meetic-Match Group, a European online dating company. Cofounders Camille Rumani and Jean-Michel Petit plan to open offices in the UK and Germany. This year, the company has signed several cross-marketing deals with travel brands such as Eurail and Interail.
Founded more than two years ago, VizEat pivoted in 2015 when it acquired a French competitor called Cookening.
It offers an iOS app, with an Android one due within a couple of months.
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