Japan’s Kitchhike, Airbnb for home-cooked meals, gets $1.8M from Mistletoe, Mercari, others

Japan’s Kitchhike, Airbnb for home-cooked meals, gets $1.8M from Mistletoe, Mercari, others

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Image credit: Kitchhike

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Kitchhike announced on Tuesday that it has raised a total of 200 million yen (about $1.8 million US) from Mistletoe, Mercari, Venture United, in addition to a fund jointly run by Freebank and Tokyo TY Financial Group (TSE:7173). Financial terms have not been disclosed.

The service initially started as a matching platform that connects cooking users and dining users in kitchens around the world. Launched back in May of 2013, it was slightly pivoted into a new concept in April of 2016 as a local community service allowing everyone to enjoy eating meals together. It has made a total of 10,000 matchmaking to date, bridging more than 1,000 matchmakings of cooks and diners each month.

Image credit: Kitchhike

 

Females in their 30s account for many of the service’s user base, and there’s also increasing cases that a user sometimes cooks meals for other users while also eating meals cooked by other users at other times. The company’s CEO Masaya Yamamoto told The Bridge that what’s common among users are they love eating and enjoy communicating with others. The company periodically hosts dinner parties at five locations in Tokyo, aiming to expand it into 500 locations in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area.

After making a matchmaking between cooking users and dining users online, we assume that it will be a challenge for them who have never met before on a face-to-face basis to join a gathering.

Yamamoto explains:

You may think that sharing a dinner table with strangers is a new concept but it has been universally done for a very long time. We consider that such a culture should be matured in our service. Using the Internet, we’d like to reorganize the concept of meals to connect people with each others which was very common for mankind a long time ago.

Image credit: Kitchhike

The funds will be used to strengthen human resources for engineering, business development, and customer support. They will also focus on adding more features to their iOS and Android apps, expanding the aforementioned dinner party initiative, promoting growth marketing efforts. They aim to reach 100,000 monthly matchmakings in two years.

Regarding strategic partnerships with investors participating in this round, the company plans to work with Food and Farming Department at Mistletoe as well as collaborating with Mercari’s C2C marketplace app and the Mercari Atte classified service app, with aim to gain the quality of user experience and increase matchmaking opportunities.

Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy