"In the era of social media, we are more connected to each other than ever before, but also lonelier than ever."
FeedUp matches people who love cooking with people looking for unique dining opportunities. The marketplace has hosted hundreds of social dining experiences ranging from intimate home-cooked dinners to trendy pop-up events to dining for yoga enthusiasts.
But for Austin Tasker, the founder of FeedUp and “the accidental social entrepreneur”, the mission from the start was about more than delicious food.
"When I built the first version of FeedUp, I had a good job that I liked. I was working for the second largest corporation in Australia and my career was going well. But I was missing a greater sense of purpose. For me, FeedUp was always about more than food: it’s about bringing people together in the most traditional way, over a shared meal."
The beginning of FeedUp’s story is familiar to many: a group of friends, sitting around the dinner table night after night, joking about different business ideas that would make them the next internet gazillionaires.
Building an “Airbnb for dining” came up.
One evening in early 2016, after yet another dinner with much talking and not a lot of doing, Austin went to his computer and found Sharetribe. By four a.m. the next morning, the first version of FeedUp was up and running.
"It was a very crude version at first, but it worked. I had a platform and could now start refining it and the idea."
Building a platform set things quickly into motion. The hobby project of Austin and two friends got its first paying customers and the first name-brand partner with almost no advertising—and even before the founders had had the time to register a company.
Mid-way, Austin relocated from Australia to the UK, where he continued working on FeedUp with a one-man team, on the side of a day job. He built a community of nearly 1,500 active users and 350 hosts from passionate home cooks to Michelin-star chefs looking for a creative outlet.
By the end of 2018, the side hustle had turned into an inspiring career: in September, FeedUp was acquired by WeFiFo, a competing platform with over 4,500 users and a determination to become the "go-to destination for food."
"I have an active role at WeFiFo, which means I’m working, for the first time, with a team that shares my values, my mission, and my passion for great food. I’m very grateful that I came across Sharetribe. If I hadn’t had the chance to turn an idea into reality so easily, FeedUp would never have happened."