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Portfolio September 18, 2014

Our Investment in EatWith

The Dinner Table as the Original Social Network

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My daily routine is probably similar to many people. As soon as I get up, I scramble to my phone so I can connect to the rest of the world by checking my email, calendar, texts, news blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the photosharing and messaging apps du jour. It’s efficient. Within minutes I know everything going on in my personal and professional life — as well as in the rest of the world.

This raw efficiency is great for data and professional engagement. But efficiency isn’t efficacy with personal relationships.

As we digitize our interactions, we virtualize our relationships. Connectivity isn’t connection. Information isn’t intimacy.

Humans are wired to personally interact with each other. We are social beings that need real connections to real people in the real world.

That’s why I’m so drawn to new startup called EatWith. EatWith is creating a new dining experience – social dining. Through EatWith’s peer-to-peer marketplace, people can dine in local homes around the world.. You meet people from your town and from around the world. When traveling, you can experience the area like a local with locals. The platform deeply connects you with other people, other cultures, and other cities in a way only having a home cooked meal around the dinner table can. It’s technology that genuinely connects people.

I’m incredibly excited to announce that Greylock is leading the Series A investment in EatWith. I’ll be joining the Board of Directors.

The mission is big and meaningful. And, like all things worth building, it will be difficult. Marketplaces are challenging under any circumstance and the hybrid online/offline user experience combined with the global footprint compounds the degree of difficulty. A business like this needs talented founders. The founders, Guy Michlin and Shemer Schwarz, are serial entrepreneurs with a deep passion for the mission. They personify the promise.

While it’s still early days, EatWith already has 500 hosts on the platform who have shared meals with tens of thousands of guests in more than 30 countries and 160 cities worldwide.

This is a technology platform that brings people together. Sharing a meal, sharing stories, sharing laughs with new people in someone’s house is deeply personal, authentic, and intimate… it also happens to be the original social network.

“Humans are wired to personally interact with each other. We are social beings that need real connections to real people in the real world.”