The increasingly popular dining club Dinner Lab just closed a seed funding round at $2.1 million, which was led by Chairman of the Board at Whole Foods and Director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship at Tulane, Dr. John Elstrott. Additional angel investors also took part in the round.
Dinner Lab is an event platform for consumers looking for next idea in food who want to get connected to the top up-and-coming chefs. The company, which got it start in New Orleans not too long ago, is now in nine other markets including Austin, Nashville, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, D.C., and Atlanta.
Dinner Lab is just scratching the surface for food creators and lovers to enjoy the platform. “While this funding announcement is great news for our company, the real work lies ahead,” said CEO Brian Bordainick. “We want to build something truly special here, and in order to do that, we’ve got a ton of work to do.”
The Dinner Lab platform flips the traditional dinner party by focusing on the chefs, while also maintaining the importance of atmosphere and location. “Each time you attend an event, your feedback and suggestions are shared with the chef so that he or she can iterate and improve on their menu concept. With your input, aspiring chefs are given the tools they need to effectively prototype new dishes and tweak recipes to help them create the next great restaurant concept.”
That feedback is also being collected and analyzed to bring big data to the food business. They are finally getting to the point where they have a geographical breadth to utilize data and continue testing everything internally.
“We want to figure out how many markets we need to be in before our data becomes very powerful,” said Bordainick. “Everyone is looking but it has never existed before. No one has really tried to manipulate the data, and nobody has had the chess board that Dinner Lab has.”
“We’re trying to position ourselves as a company to be the first to tackle it,” Bordainick said about leveraging the data, including a more curated place of information, and the strong network of people on both the consumer and producer side.