Cookening acquired by VizEat as the promise of ‘Airbnb for Meals’ falls short

Feb 17, 2015
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Paris-based marketplace for travelers and home-owners to share a meal Cookening announced it had been acquired by fellow French startup VizEat, the self-proclaimed European leader in the space which raised €1 Million last year. Following the acquisition, co-founder & CEO Cedric Giorgi, who in recent months had taken a full-time position at SIGFOX, says he will stay on board as an advisor to VizEat founders Jean-Michel Petit & Camille Rumani.

In past months, Giorgi had expressed his frustration that his startup did not have much access to capital as US competitors like EatWith, which raised $8 Million from Grelock last September. Now, Giorgi says that EatWith is shifting to a model similar to France’s La Belle Assiette, which raised $1.7 Million at the end of last year to put professional chefs in touch with end users.

Market consolidation is normal for marketplaces, however the ‘Airbnb for Meals’ model symbolizes the first wall that startups touched in the dark room that is The Sharing Economy. The model seemed almost too good to be true when players sprung up in 2013; it seems that, while we are OK renting out our beds, couches, hammocks, canoes & barges, the idea of cooking for others like a chef in our own home just didn’t take off with the people the way Airbnb, Uber, Blablacar & Etsy did.

Still, VizEat’s consolidated positioning will allow it to find that connection that will extend the market beyond foodies and travelers to the every-day household.