People have the inherent need to meet and network. In today’s busy world people don’t have the enthusiasm to look beyond their family or work circle to mingle. Even at social events, some people need to make an extra effort to mingle especially with the absence of an ice breaker.
LetsDine is a startup that wants to use ‘ Food and Wine’ to lead the way and help provide people a platform where they can mingle and interact with others of similar interest, in the real world. The company is doing something very similar to what Meetup.com does, but with a culinary twist. Everyone loves a good time with the good stuff!
Through the portal you can join as well as host various themed dining events across cities, where invitees can meet and mingle with one another. Soon the startup will also help you host private events to celebrate occasions, events or meetups.
The service, launched in April, is currently available only in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Ahmedabad. They have already hosted 60 dining events and built up a community of over a thousand LetsDiners since their launch. More than half of the members have attended at least one of the events hosted on the portal.
LetsDine has integrated, on the supply side, with restaurants and other outlets through which you can schedule an event, book tables and customise menus. The startup generates revenue through commissions from the restaurant that hosts the events and through some other indirect revenue opportunities.
For now, most of the events listed are for Hyderabad, as the other city listings are yet to catch up. The startup will be shortly launching online hobby clubs, which is going to be an invite only affair. This will surely help people with similar hobbies and interests meet, especially for the ones who want to take their interactions beyond the social media.
The company will face competition from portals like Meetup.com, who are beginning to gain traction in India, and also from social network groups that are very active on Facebook and Google+.
It should also be taken into fact that, a lot of people are waiting for opportunities to network beyond their current circles, especially in the case of a lot of niche interests like Philately enthusiasts or comic book collectors or board game aficionados. As most events hosted on other platforms are tech-oriented, there is a huge crowd out there whose interests needs to be addressed. Hence competition for event platforms like this shouldn’t be much of an issue as long as the events cover a wide area of interests.
Another important factor is the way the events are organized and curated by the portal. After all you wouldn’t want to end up at a wine tasting event to end up with people there to ‘check out the crowd’ (such things do happen in India!).
The forum might also be able to cater to a wider variety of events if the dining factor is removed, which begs an important question for LetsDine : What Business Are You In? A platform for diners or a tech-platform event management company.
So next time you are organizing a party, do give LetsDine a spin and share your comments.