Needham, Massachusetts-based online travel company TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP) said it led a new round of funding in San Francisco-based social dining marketplace EatWith. Greylock Partners, which led an $8 million Series A funding round in EatWith in 2014, also participated in this new round.

“From Tel Aviv to San Francisco, Eatwith connects people through unique dining experiences around the world,” the company says. “With an effort to democratize the food industry, EatWith is creating economic opportunity for culinary entrepreneurs who want to share their passion and monetize their craft.”

This latest investment will support EatWith’s global growth. The platform allows travelers to book a seat at the table of a host, typically a local chef who prepares a meal for the group in a private setting such as their own kitchen.

EatWith spans more than 200 global cities, and offers access to more than 650 hosts across 50 countries.

“The investment funding we’ve received from TripAdvisor and Greylock Partners will be instrumental in driving even more interest in our popular communal dining experiences,” said Susan Kim, CEO of EatWith. “Our goal is to continue to democratize the industry by matching adventurous travelers with culinary entrepreneurs who want to share their passion for food.”

A growing number of consumers are using EatWith to book intimate dining experiences. The company has helped fill more than 80,000 seats since its founding in 2012, by Stanford and Hebrew University graduate Guy Michlin, and Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University graduate Shemer Schwarz.

“EatWith is a truly innovative service that helps travelers dine like a local, and we’re excited to help support their efforts through an investment that will also help us expand our leadership position in the restaurant category,” said Bertrand Jelensperger, global head of TripAdvisor restaurants and lafourchette CEO.

“Breaking bread with someone in their own kitchen is such a powerful way to learn about a culture and make new friends that we’ve decided to integrate EatWith into our TripAdvisor Restaurants pages. Now our users will be able to book EatWith experiences in cities around the world,” he added.

For years, TripAdvisor has allowed travelers to seamlessly book a wide range of travel experiences, from lodging and flights to restaurants and things to do.

Now when travelers visit TripAdvisor’s restaurants pages they will be able to research social dining options under a new “Dine with a Local Chef” category and click through to EatWith to complete the booking.

The new social dining options on TripAdvisor will also feature candid traveler reviews and photos to help travelers shop for the right experience for their trip.

The EatWith integration is being rolled out on the TripAdvisor desktop site in all countries where it operates, and will support 10 cities at launch. A rollout to TripAdvisor mobile and additional markets will follow.

TripAdvisor Inc. was founded in 2000. The company’’s websites feature 320 million reviews and opinions on 6.2 million places, including 995,000 hotels and accommodations; 770,000 vacation rentals; 3.8 million restaurants; and 625,000 attractions worldwide. TripAdvisor has 3,350 employees and a market capitalization of over $9 billion.

Photo: EatWith co-founders Guy Michlin and Shemer Schwarz.



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