Tech

Social Dining Service VizEat Scoops Up Rival EatWith

Paris-based startup VizEat has acquired its U.S.-based rival EatWith to create what it calls the world’s largest social dining platform.

Both companies offer marketplaces of food-themed events, enabling people to pay for immersive food experiences such as in-home dinners, cooking classes, and market tours.

The companies did not disclose the terms of the deal.

But the move appears to be a disappointing exit for investors in EatWith, founded in 2012 by Israelis Guy Michlin and Shemer Schwartz and is now based in San Francisco.

The Marker, a Haaretz-owned business newspaper, reported that the deal was only about several hundred thousand dollars.

Crunchbase said that EatWith had raised $8 million to date, but other reports suggest different numbers. We do know that, last November, TripAdvisor said it led an investment round in EatWith, making it a minority investor. Greylock Partners said it had led an $8 million Series A round in 2014.

A spokesperson for TripAdvisor said, “We felt that this was a win-win for all parties. We are pleased to have played a role in EatWith’s growth as a company and views its acquisition by VizEat as further evidence of the viability of this new dining model.”

Since late last year, when travelers visit TripAdvisor’s restaurant pages, they have been able to browse meal sharing options under a “Dine with a Local Chef” category that showcases events from EatWith hosts. TripAdvisor said today that its partnership and integration with EatWith would continue in its current form, meaning that its users’ ability to book dining experiences with local chefs on TripAdvisor will remain unchanged.

Founded in 2014, VizEat has raised $5.5 million, to date, with its most recent round of about $4.5 million (€3.8 million) a year ago, which included participation by Eurovestech.

With this deal, VizEat is gaining access to the client base EatWith has built up in about 50 countries, with especially strong coverage in the U.S., Europe, and Israel.

VizEat told us: “We are looking at different options but for the foreseeable future, the EatWith brand will remain.”

VizEat will likely harmonize the two brands’ policies. For example, EatWith told Skift last spring that it is extremely selective with who they approve as a host. Their acceptance rate at the time was under five percent, which is believed to be stricter than VizEat’s.

Last spring, Camille Rumani, co-founder and COO of VizEat spoke at Skift Forum Europe 2017 about the future of dining out and travel. She spoke of a rapidly scaling company.

VizEat was named the Best of 2016 iPhone app by Apple in France, Italy, and Spain.

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