Never Eat Alone started with a simple idea, but it’s a potentially very lucrative business. If you work in a big corporate environment, chances are you always have lunch with the same people in your department. And when they’re not around, you end up eating in front of your computer, like hundreds or thousands of others in your company. Never Eat Alone puts an end to this.
But the French startup didn’t go down the consumer road. Instead, it started pitching its app to big public French companies in order to sell them a license to distribute the app. And it works. A few companies have already paid tens of thousands of dollars to give access to the app to their employees.
Co-founder and CEO Marie Schneegans told me how she came up with this idea. When she was doing a summer internship at UBS, she wanted to meet people working for other departments but there wasn’t any easy way to do it. So she started sending emails to other people and organizing lunches. After a while, she ended up having lunch with the company’s CEO.
And this is key to understanding Never Eat Alone. Big companies are looking for this kind of services. It’s great if you want to improve retention. It’s great to make your employees learn new things and get to know more people. And finally, it’s great to improve the overall culture of the company.
As an employee, using Never Eat Alone is completely optional. Once it’s on your phone, you can sign up and create a profile. You can list your interests and then you can find people to have lunch with them. For instance, you can search for people in the legal department who like tennis like you.
The lunch app is just the first step as the company has bigger plans when it comes to improving corporate culture through technology. It also plans to work with American companies in the coming months. Never Eat Alone is interesting for a key reason — never underestimate the opportunity of working with public companies and their big budgets.