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Airbnb's new startup EatWith raises $8M for strangers' home-cookin'

Airbnb's new startup EatWith raises $8M for strangers' home-cookin'
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I don't know if it's just me, but 8 million bucks sure sounds like a lot of startup money for a business where somebody else is doing the cooking.

By rights, EatWith is really just providing the website, marketing and infrastructure (not the cookin') to allow others to invite strangers to their home to eat. Or, if you are one of the strangers, you can sign up to eat (and pay for) someone to cook for you at their home.

Besides, the company behind this new startup we already love - AirBnb - you know, the site that lets you advertise, market and charge others for hotel-like use of your home, condo, apartment or even just a room in one of them.

The original EatWith concept began back in 2012 with Guy Michlin and Shemer Schwartz, who wanted to create a marketplace connecting diners and hosts. The idea was to create a unique social experience where guests get to know one another while also eating an authentic, home-cooked meal.

Reasons to feed strangers at home

For the hosts, there's the attraction of meeting new folks in a comfortable environment and yes, the nearly as important opportunity to earn some extra money in the process.

So, how much can you make?

Well, I suppose as much as would be visitors are willing to pay. Of course, the team at EatWith fully vets their hosts (and guests, so there shouldn't be any major creep factor) to ensure they are great cooks, but that they also are friendly and have the social skills to connect with others.

According to co-founder Michlin, the ingredients EatWith values most in hosts are, "the ability to host and communicate, cooking, and the ambiance of their home." Each hosts' home and menu are reviewed before being added to the platform.

And the guests?

Just folks looking for new experiences in terms of social interaction and culinary enjoyment.

Things are looking (and apparently tasting) good, early on

EatWith officially launched just 18 months ago, and moved from Tel Aviv to San Francisco. With already more than 500 hosts in 160 cities across 30 countries worldwide, it will be interesting to see the rate of growth now that the company has access to the $8 million in funding raised by Greylock Partners.

In keeping with the number 18, EatWith currently has 18 employees as well. With the idea that the dinner table is the world's first social network, EatWith hopes to leverage technology to enable more personal contact.

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