Lunchtime in France is a landmark. Forget the quick sandwich, the half-filled Bento, in France you sit down and enjoy a good meal. And you meet people! Even more now that you have CoLunching.
Social network for friendly lunches
It all started as a simple Facebook page, back in 2012. Sonia, a freelancer, set up the page to organize lunches and make people meet. It was a success but a Facebook page is hardly the best platform for that. In comes Fabienne Neveux who set up the fully functionnal CoLunching platform.
Other solutions offer to meet new faces. Shapr promotes one to one meetings which sometimes can make some people uneasy. Especially with members of opposite sexes. Likelunch uses lunchtime for meetings as well but only one to one, again. Meetup is not made for the lunch break.
CoLunching wants to share the pleasant and friendly moment of lunch, in a group according to a theme. It isn’t too long (people must return to work) and less formal thus encouraging talks.
What about lunchtime elsewhere?
Well, although the startup is in France, CoLunching has already escaped its home country. Not officially – though it’s on the roadmap – but the concept seems to work beyond our frontiers. Colunches have already taken place in Canada and Libanon.
The private versions
CoLunching is free to use. Free to register, to set up a colunch, to attend. So what is the business model? Well, there are private versions of CoLunching, made for companies so their employees can meet-and-eat. These versions can be integrated within the intranet and this is what pays for the free version.
Fabienne admits that starting with the B2B version could have been a better call. But she relates to Nelson Mandela’s quote: “I never lose, I either win or learn”. Making mistakes and correcting them are a vital step in entrepreneurship. And so she did.
The CoLunching team
The team counts six but the current funds raising should allow for new blood soon. Recruitment will include business development and more techies. The team is very keen on earnest relationships, they need to give their endeavour a meaning. And this sometimes comes in very unlikely ways. It even took the shape of a little bundle of joy. Yes, there is already one CoLunching baby! I guess people don’t just eat…
Also associates met during a Colunch and startups were launched.
All this fondly recalled by Fabienne as she finds there her true calling: enhance relationships while having a good meal.
And what about you? Who are you having your next lunch with?