Founders: Eddy Lu and Daishin Sugano
Headquarters: Venice, California
Year Founded: 2010
Investors: Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital, New Enterprise Associates, SV Angel, among others
Brief Company Description: Grubwithus is the social dining network for people interested in meeting new friends over group meals at restaurants throughout the U.S.
By Eddy Lu and Daishin Sugano, co-founders
Grubwithus is a community where friends and future friends create and join group meals. Whether you want to get to know people from your neighborhood, you’re in a new city, or just want to meet like-minded folks, Grubwithus regularly offers a variety of meals in cities around the U.S. and Canada.
Grubwithus meals are hosted at restaurants and typically have six-to-ten people at each table. Each individual pays in advance through Grubwithus for a set menu that is served family style. Most meals are themed or hosted by a Grubwithus Group to help bring together interested people as well as to guide initial conversation topics at the meal.
In addition to the regularly occurring Grubwithus curated meals outlined above, Grubwithus also allows users to create their own meals. User created meals are fully designed by the users and the logistics and coordination are handled by Grubwithus. These meals can be public or private: public meals can be viewed by the entire community and appear just like any other Grubwithus meal, while private ones—such as birthdays, bachelorette parties, and such—can only be seen by those who have been invited by the organizer. Grubwithus strives to bring people together over food. We invite you to book a seat and join the ‘in real life’ movement with us.
Frustrated with the stuffiness and oftentimes bureaucratic nature of corporate America, we quit our jobs, bid adieu to our steady paychecks and set out to develop a company of our own. The Grubwithus concept did not manifest overnight but rather the opportunity to open and own a Beard Papa’s cream puff franchise came first. We opened our first Los Angeles cream puffery in 2006, our second in 2007, and then relocated to Chicago to open our third store.
As two California natives, it was living in Chicago with no friends or family around that inspired us to develop the Grubwithus concept. Struggling to meet people out on the town at bars and parties, we started asking the question: after college, how are we supposed to meet people without spending every night out at clubs and awkward networking events?
With a passion for eating and a keen interest in exploring different neighborhoods in search of good food, the idea to create a platform for meeting and engaging with awesome people while eating at popular restaurants was born. Fast-forward a few months, and Grubwithus launched.
Like most tech startups, we’re iterating our product regularly. And unlike most tech startups, we are also very reliant on a brick and mortar third party—the restaurants—for a successful product. We work day in and day out to make sure that our product is seamless, enjoyable, and delivers inherent value. As the development and sales team dedicate themselves to the product entirely, the marketing and communications teams are focused on getting the word out about our product through the following channels: community management, paid advertisements, organic media hits, and partnerships with other brands, big and small, to help tell the Grubwithus story.
We have found that in order to be successful, all elements need to be working together. Unfortunately, if our community management program is delivering and exceeding all goals but the product is broken or the paid advertisements aren’t reaching our demographic, we know that we’ve missed a potential growth opportunity.
How We Differentiate from the Competition
It’s quite simple really. Grubwithus is a place to meet and socialize comfortably with others. There is no questionnaire to fill out or super technical matching algorithm used. We view ourselves as a very approachable, easy-to-use, and affordable service. We satisfy the basic human need for friendship and social experiences.
The Grubwithus business model is similar to most collaborative consumption businesses out there today. Like Airbnb or Uber, we charge a minimal service fee on top of each reservation to cover our costs.
We are always looking to add talented, awesome people to our team, so check out www.grubwithus.com/jobs for current openings. And, if you don’t see a position open, but you’re certain Grubwithus is the place for you, send us an email and tell us about yourself.
Grubwithus – www.grubwithus.com