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Grubwithus has only raised its Series A round and launched is social dining concept in just four U.S. cities, but the Venice, Ca.,-based startup already has its sights set on international expansion. The company has bought The Social Feed, a Canadian startup with a similar social networking premise: prying like-minded strangers away from their browsers to share a communal meal.
Grubwithus didn’t reveal the financial details of the deal, though the $5 million it just picked up from Los Angeles VC firm GRP Partners and Lebanese entrepreneur Michel Daher had to help. Grubwithus has officially launched in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago – though it does let members organize meals in other cities – but with the integration of The Social Feed it’s now open for business in Toronto and Vancouver as well. As part of the acquisition, Grubwithus not only gets Social Feed’s membership roster, but also the restaurant agreements it has negotiated.
The Social Feed launched in Vancouver January of 2011, just six months after Grubwithus went live in LA. The two companies have (or had) a different approach to social dining, though. As this profile by Toronto’s The Grid alludes to, The Social Feed seems more organized around the “supper club” concept – getting a large group of people of varied interests and backgrounds together at a communal table to sample a specific restaurant’s fare. The company’s co-founders organize the meals themselves.
Grubwithus has created more of a social network around the premise of small-scale dining. Members sign up for specific groups based on interest — whether its travel, technology or love of raw fish. From there, members organize their own dinner parties, while Grubwithus handles the logistics: selecting the restaurants, working out the details of the menu and handling the credit card transactions.
Hopefully Grubwithus will combine both concepts. While I like the idea of building a meal around a common interest like travel, I would suspect the common trait most Grubwithus users share is their love of good food. Tailoring or selecting your communal meal based on a specific restaurant or menu seems just as important as the choosing a discussion topic.
Grubwithus director of communications Amy Partridge said the company definitely plans to keep the supper club format going in Canada while also phasing in its topic-based format. So far, she said, there are plan no plans to introduce the supper club concept to its U.S. markets. But here’s hoping.
The Social Feed’s co-founders Alexander Close, Reggie Milligan, and Michael Brown will stay on as Grubwithus’s Canadian advisors.
Photo of recent Social Feed meal courtesy of Grubwithus