- Established presence in 29 countries and 60 cities
- Developed a team with experience from Google, Groupon, Yahoo, Alice Waters and some of the leading tour operators
- Investors include the former CEO of Expedia
- Partnerships in place with Expedia and Viator (owned by TripAdvisor) to scale consumer acquisition
- Exceptional reviews from customers and a Net Promoter Score over 3x the travel industry average
- Amount raised:
- Seed :
- Minimum Investment: US $500 per investor
- : Convertible Note
- US $6,000,000 :
- : US $300,000
Traveling Spoon connects travelers with private, authentic food experiences in people's homes around the world. Our company is addressing the $246 billion culinary tourism industry, offering travelers meaningful, memorable experiences that transform their travels. We have established a presence in 29 countries and have developed a team with experience from Google, Groupon, Yahoo and Alice Waters. We launched our website in September 2015, a fully developed platform that includes an entirely automated payment processing and traveler notifications, and have partnerships in place with Expedia and Viator (owned by TripAdvisor) to scale consumer acquisition. Our goal is to have 100,000 hosts and be serving 10 million travelers, which equates to under 1% of the travel market, a $400MM business.
Travel is changing. People seek authenticity, meaning and a connection to local culture when they travel. However, the experiences that have traditionally been offered to travelers are, in our opinion, undifferentiated and unfulfilling, and discovery is broken. Traveling Spoon is creating a new shareable economy that allows travelers to truly experience authentic cuisine in local homes around the world.
We are an online platform that connects travelers with locals, enabling them to share authentic, in-home food experiences, from meals to cooking classes to market tours. Imagine traveling to Thailand and instead of eating at a touristy restaurant or going to a local attraction where there are thousands of other people, you take the subway to a new neighborhood. You get picked up by a local, and together, you guys tour her neighborhood market, where you see monks give blessings to vendors and few other tourists in sight. She then drives you in her long boat down a scenic river to her childhood home where you learn to make her favorite recipes that she had learned from her mother. We build the technology to enable these authentic connections and experiences.
What the press is saying
“The next generation of culinary tourism.” - Forbes
“If you're constantly seeking traditional dishes on your travels, look no further than Traveling Spoon” - Condé Nast Traveler
“[Shop] for birds eye chillies, raw papaya and basil with your host, before learning to make a classic som tam in their home.”- National Geographic Traveler
“8 Must-Have Travel Apps” - CNN
What our customers are saying
“The experience was beyond my imagination!... You step in their home as a guest through Traveling Spoon, but you step out as a part of their family.”
“The more I use Travelling Spoon....the more I love the experience of connecting people through food...and the cultural exchange is just another bonus! It's definitely making the world a smaller place.”
“We were gifted a cooking lesson with Putu and her family through the Traveling Spoon which proved to be one of the best experiences we had in Bali. For anyone looking to taste wonderful, real Balinese food and interact with a local family, this is a must-do activity for you!”
“Our first Traveling Spoon experience was simply perfect from start to finish! Dewa and Jero were wonderful hosts. We learned a huge amount about Balinese culture and Dewa was happy to answer any questions we had. Their traditional-style house and village are beautiful. The cooking lesson was fantastic, and the resulting meal delicious. The experience was definitely the highlight of our time in Bali.”
Disclaimer: The above individuals were not compensated in exchange for their testimonials. In addition, their testimonials should not be construed as and/or considered investment advice.
Join Erik Blachford, former CEO of Expedia and Traveling Spoon's lead investor, for an exclusive webinar on January 12th, 2017 at 2:00 PM EST. Erik will be talking about his investment in Traveling Spoon and taking questions from the crowd.
Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2441667159919696900
Traveling Spoon is an online marketplace that matches travelers with personally vetted home cooks offering private, authentic food experiences worldwide. The technology is a fully built Ruby on Rails web platform that is mobile-optimized. Travelers can visit our website, search by destination, and book a host of their choosing. Travelers pay for the experience up front through our website, and we handle the payouts to the host so that no money needs to exchange hands during the experiences.
We vet 100% of our hosts to meet our requirements and have developed a low-cost vetting process through our ambassador program to enable continued high quality at scale. Our vetting system is unique from other platforms’; no other companies - according to our knowledge - have the same rigorous selection process and quality of hosts that we have.
We currently have three offerings: in-home meals, cooking classes and market tours.
We have proven product-market fit with 2,000+ users and an NPS 3x the industry average. Next, our goal is to scale.
We have experienced first-hand the frustration of traveling around the globe only to eat bad food in hotel restaurants and be confronted with tourist-trap destinations. We are passionate travelers who believe that travel is important. In 2007, co-founder Steph Lawrence traveled to China for the first time. After 2 1/2 weeks in the country, she was struck by how little she had connected with the local food and culture. Spending weeks traveling by tour bus from silk factory to hotel banquet hall where she ate with other tourists, she realized she didn't connect with the local culture at all. She decided to move to China in 2009 to learn the language and explore the culture through its food - she wanted to learn to make dumplings from a Chinese grandmother. But when she moved there, she found there was nothing out there to help her find the experiences she sought.
In 2011, Aashi traveled to Mexico and had a similar problem discovering the local food and culture. She scoured review websites trying to find the most authentic food and the least touristy restaurants she could. On her way to another overly-crowded tourist spot, she saw through a window a woman in her kitchen, making dinner. That was where she wanted to be eating dinner, sharing a homemade meal with this local Mexican woman, hearing her stories and learning about her culture.
When we met at business school in Berkeley in 2011, these experiences were still with us. We both believe in the power of travel, that travel can make the world a smaller, better place.
- $2,500: Lifetime discount of 10% on experiences booked through Traveling Spoon.
- $5,000: Lifetime discount of 15% on experiences booked through Traveling Spoon.
- $10,000: Lifetime discount of 20% on experiences booked through Traveling Spoon, plus two of the Company's founders' favorite cookbooks.
- $25,000: Lifetime discount of 20% on experiences booked through Traveling Spoon, plus an invitation to the Company's exclusive launch party in San Francisco.
- $50,000: Private dinner party hosted by the founders of the Company in the investor's home.
- $75,000+: Up to $2,000 in airfare for a trip to Asia, plus four complimentary Traveling Spoon experiences.
It is advised that you consult a tax professional to fully understand any potential tax implications of receiving investor perks before making an investment.
The financial statements of the Company may be found below in the Data Room. The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and have been reviewed by Artesian CPA, LLC.
Traveling Spoon, Inc. began operations in January 2014. The Company did not officially launch its service until the second half of 2015. Traveling Spoon began generating revenue in late 2015 and serves a growing market of travelers looking for unique culinary experiences with local hosts.
Results of Operations
For the year ended December 31, 2015, Traveling Spoon’s net revenues were approximately $32,560. As of the same date the year prior, Traveling Spoon generated net revenues of 12,363. To determine the Company’s gross profits, costs associated with the host fees, processing fees, and partner commissions are deducted. For the year ended December 31, 2015, the Company’s costs of revenues totaled $46,541, for a gross loss of $13,981. The loss stems from the way in which the Company was recording host fees, which has been fixed for 2016.
Since the end of 2015, the Company has improved its cost of revenue to net revenue ratio. Currently, the cost of revenues account for approximately 80% of the Company’s net revenues. The remaining 20% is net revenue to the Company to cover its expenses.
The Company’s operating expenses consist of engineering and website development, regional management and sales, sales and marketing, and general and administrative expenses. For the year ended December 31, 2015, the Company’s total operating expenses totaled were $494,632.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
As of the end of September 2016, the Company had approximately $362,000 in cash on hand, and total assets of $366,000. As of December 31, 2015, the Company had cash on hand of approximately $78,960. The increase in cash on hand was driven by the sale of SAFE notes to investors. As of the date of this Offering Memorandum, the Company has issued approximately $660,000 in SAFE notes in 2016.
This Offering of securities under Regulation CF will expand the Company’s available cash resources. At the current burn rate of approximately $45,000 per month, along with the total authorized raise of $1,000,000 in the sale of SAFE notes, the company will have a runway of approximately 28 months.
The Company is not subject to any outstanding loans or debts other than those identified its prior offerings of securities.
The Company is not aware of any material changes or trends in the financial condition and results of operations subsequent to the period for which financial statements are provided.
Prior offerings of securities
Since it began its operations in 2014 and issued its common stock to its founders, the Company has engaged in two prior offerings of securities utilizing the exemption provided by Rule 506 of Regulation D.
The Company raised $870,000 from January 2014 to July 2014 through the sale of its convertible promissory notes to investors including Erik Blachford, George Butterfield, First Round Capital’s Dorm Room Fund, the Chennai Angels, and Emily and Anjan Mitra.
The Company is currently engaging in the sale of its SAFE notes to investors. As of the date of this Offering Memorandum, the Company has issued and sold approximately $660,000 of SAFE notes.
The Company has not obtained any third-party valuations. The valuation of the Company for this Offering was determined by management.
There are one billion travelers annually, representing a $7.6 trillion industry, roughly 10% of the global GDP. Our primary addressable market of leisure travelers spend $41 billion annually on food experiences outside of restaurants such as cooking classes, market tours and wine tours. This number grows to $246 billion when we account for all culinary tourism expenditures, including restaurants. We aim to capture 1% of this addressable market.
The competitive landscape of this market can be broken down into three categories:
- Existing alternatives: Of the $246 billion culinary tourism market roughly 80-85% is spent at restaurants; the remaining amount is spent on other culinary tourism alternatives such as cooking classes, food tours and wine tours. These existing restaurants and cooking class offerings are highly decentralized.
- Large travel companies: Established travel companies (Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Expedia, Priceline) have shown interest in the experience bookings industry and might continue to move into the culinary experiences market.
- New entrants: There are also new players in the market in the last couple years entering this space, each with its own angle. There are some US-based home-dining companies (EatWith, Feastly) that focus on non-private group meals primarily in the US local market. Other international competitors (VizEat, WithLocals, BookALokal) offer a more open, uncurated marketplace.
How we are different
We offer private, high quality and personally-vetted culinary experiences to travelers around the world - ranging from locally-led cooking classes to market tours to in-home meals.
Our headquarters are located in the heart of the Bay Area, allowing us to be close to investors, top quality engineering talent and key travel partners. For instance, we have developed a close partnership with distribution partners like Viator, one of the leading online tour activity providers owned by TripAdvisor.
The Company relies on a small management team. The Company depends on the skills and experience of its officers, Stephanie Lawrence, Aashi Vel, and Swati Raju. Each officer brings a different skill set to the Company. If the Company is not able to call upon one of these officers for any reason, the Company’s operations and development could be harmed.
The Company will need to hire additional employees. The Company will need additional developers, marketing, and business development personnel to continue to grow. Hiring additional employees will increase the Company’s costs that may not be offset by increased revenues. Additionally, there is no guarantee that the Company will be able to find the right talent to meets its needs.
The Company has not yet established an extensive operating history. Traveling Spoon organized as a company in 2013. Since then, the Company has worked to enlarge its customer base, engage new partners, and recruit hosts in additional countries. There is no guarantee that the Company will be able to maintain and grow its customer base, partnerships, and in-country hosts. Should the Company not be able to grow, its financial results and operations may be negatively impacted.
The Company’s financial statements contain a going concern opinion. As identified in its financial statements, the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern for the next twelve months is dependent upon its ability to generate sufficient cash flows from operations to meet its obligations, or obtain additional capital financing from investors.
The Company’s brand image relies on in-country hosts who are not under the direct control of Traveling Spoon. The Company undertakes a vetting process before any host is allowed to provide services to travelers booking through the Traveling Spoon platform. These hosts are not employees of the Company, and the Company is not monitoring their activities. Should a traveler have a negative experience with a host, that may negatively impact the Traveling Spoon brand and the Company’s operations.
The Company could be a target for hacking or information theft. Certain personal and payment information regarding travelers and hosts is provided through the Traveling Spoon platform. Hacking attempts and/or data breaches could lead to material financial losses, reputational damage, and legal expense. Credit card processors could refuse to do business with the Company if it were to receive a large number of chargebacks, which can be triggered by fraudulent use of stolen credit cards. The Company undertakes security audits; it does not store credit card information; it does its best to safeguard its systems and assets, but it cannot guarantee that it will be able to successfully repel all future attempts to defraud the Company or breach customer data.
The Company is particularly vulnerable to economic downturns. In the event of an economic downturn, consumers may decide to forgo in-country experiences during their travel, or forgo travel altogether prior to cutting back on any other goods or services.
The Company is selling convertible notes that will convert into shares or result in payment in limited circumstances, and in certain circumstances only at the option of the Company. These notes do not have a maturity date and only convert or result in payment in limited circumstances. If there is a merger, buyout or other corporate transaction, investors will receive a payment of two times their purchase price. This amount is not adjusted for interest and will be the same amount regardless of when the transaction occurs. If there is a qualified equity financing (and only a financing using preferred shares will count for this purpose), the conversion price will be set for conversion into non-voting shares of a to-be-determined class of preferred stock. Only major investors will have their notes converted at this time; notes held by non-major investors will only convert at the sole discretion of the company or in the event of subsequent corporate transaction. Further, the notes convert at a discount of 20%, or based on a valuation cap meaning investors would be rewarded for taking on early risk compared to later investors. But you won’t know how much your investment is worth until that happens. The outside investors at the time conversion, if any, might value the company at an amount well below $6.0 million valuation cap, so you should not view the $6.0 million as being an indication of the company’s value. If you choose to invest, you should be prepared for the fact that your notes will never convert and will have no value.
There is no current market for any of the Company’s securities. There is no formal marketplace for the resale of securities sold under Regulation CF, and it is unlikely that such a marketplace will ever form. Additionally, there are restrictions on how these securities may be resold for a period of one year following their purchase.
The Company will need to raise additional funds in the future. The Company is still in its development stage and will require additional capital contributions in the future to sustain and grow its operations. When the Company does seek additional capital contributions, there is no guarantee that such funding will be available at the time. Further, if the Company does receive additional capital contributions in the future, the terms of such an offering may not be favorable to the Company, and may result in your investment being worth less than that of future investors.
Start-up investing is risky. Investing in startups is very risky, highly speculative, and should not be made by anyone who cannot afford to lose their entire investment. Unlike an investment in a mature business where there is a track record of revenue and income, the success of a startup or early-stage venture often relies on the development of a new product or service that may or may not find a market. Before investing, you should carefully consider the specific risks and disclosures related to both this offering type and the company which can be found in this company profile and the documents in the data room below.
Your shares are not easily transferable. You should not plan on being able to readily transfer and/or resell your security. Currently there is no market or liquidity for these shares and the company does not have any plans to list these shares on an exchange or other secondary market. At some point the company may choose to do so, but until then you should plan to hold your investment for a significant period of time before a “liquidation event” occurs. A “liquidation event” is when the company either lists their shares on an exchange, is acquired, or goes bankrupt.
The Company may not pay dividends for the foreseeable future. Unless otherwise specified in the offering documents and subject to state law, you are not entitled to receive any dividends on your interest in the Company. Accordingly, any potential investor who anticipates the need for current dividends or income from an investment should not purchase any of the securities offered on the Site.
Valuation and capitalization. Unlike listed companies that are valued publicly through market-driven stock prices, the valuation of private companies, especially startups, is difficult to assess and you may risk overpaying for your investment. In addition, there may be additional classes of equity with rights that are superior to the class of equity being sold.
You may only receive limited disclosure. While the company must disclose certain information, since the company is at an early-stage they may only be able to provide limited information about its business plan and operations because it does not have fully developed operations or a long history. The company may also only obligated to file information periodically regarding its business, including financial statements. A publicly listed company, in contrast, is required to file annual and quarterly reports and promptly disclose certain events — through continuing disclosure that you can use to evaluate the status of your investment.
Investment in personnel. An early-stage investment is also an investment in the entrepreneur or management of the company. Being able to execute on the business plan is often an important factor in whether the business is viable and successful. You should be aware that a portion of your investment may fund the compensation of the company’s employees, including its management. You should carefully review any disclosure regarding the company’s use of proceeds.
Possibility of fraud. In light of the relative ease with which early-stage companies can raise funds, it may be the case that certain opportunities turn out to be money-losing fraudulent schemes. As with other investments, there is no guarantee that investments will be immune from fraud.
Lack of professional guidance. Many successful companies partially attribute their early success to the guidance of professional early-stage investors (e.g., angel investors and venture capital firms). These investors often negotiate for seats on the company’s board of directors and play an important role through their resources, contacts and experience in assisting early-stage companies in executing on their business plans. An early-stage company may not have the benefit of such professional investors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Title III of the JOBS Act outlines Reg CF, a type of offering allowing private companies to raise up to $1 million from all Americans. Prior capital raising options, limited private companies to raising money only from accredited investors, historically the wealthiest ~2% of Americans. Like a Kickstarter campaign, Reg CF allows companies to raise funds online from their early adopters and the crowd. However, instead of providing investors a reward such as a t-shirt or a card, investors receive shares, typically equity, in the startups they back. To learn more about Reg CF and other offering types check out our blog and academy.
The Form C is a document the company must file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) which includes basic information about the company and its offering and is a condition to making a Reg CF offering available to investors. It is important to note that the SEC does not review the Form C, and therefore is not recommending and/or approving any of the securities being offered.
Before making any investment decision, it is highly recommended that prospective investors review the Form C filed with the SEC (a copy of which may be found below) before making any investment decision.
When you complete your investment on SeedInvest, your money will be transferred to an escrow account where an independent escrow agent will watch over your investment until it is accepted by Traveling Spoon. Once Traveling Spoon accepts your investment, and certain regulatory procedures are completed, your money will be transferred from the escrow account to Traveling Spoon in exchange for your shares. At that point, you will be a proud owner in Traveling Spoon.
Preferred equity is usually issued to outside investors and carries rights and conditions that are different from that of common stock. For example, preferred equity may include rights that prevent or minimize the effects of dilution or grants special privileges in situations when the company is sold.
A convertible note is a unique form of debt that converts into equity, usually in conjunction with a future financing round. The investor effectively loans money to a startup with the expectation that they will receive equity in the company in the future at a discounted price per share when the company raises its next round of financing.
To learn more about startup investment types check out “How to Choose a Startup Investment” in our academy.
An investor is limited in the amount that he or she may invest in a Reg CF offering during any 12-month period:
- If either the annual income or the net worth of the investor is less than $100,000, the investor is limited to the greater of $2,000 or 5% of the lesser of his or her annual income or net worth.
- If the annual income and net worth of the investor are both greater than $100,000, the investor is limited to 10% of the lesser of his or her annual income or net worth, to a maximum of $100,000.
Separately, Traveling Spoon has set a minimum investment amount of US $500.
To make an investment, you will need the following information readily available:
- Personal information such as your current address and phone number
- Employment and employer information
- Net worth and income information
- Social Security Number or government-issued identification
- ABA bank routing number and checking account number (typically found on a personal check or bank statement)
For offerings made under Regulation CF, you may cancel your investment at any time up to 48 hours before a closing occurs or an earlier date set by the company. You will be sent a reminder notification approximately five days before the closing or set date giving you an opportunity to cancel your investment if you had not already done so. Once a closing occurs, and if you have not canceled your investment, you will receive an email notifying you that your shares have been issued. If you have already funded your investment, your funds will be promptly refunded to you upon cancellation. To cancel your investment, let SeedInvest know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, the company's name, the amount, the investment number, and the date your made your investment.
You are a partial owner of the company, you do own shares after all! But more importantly, companies which have raised money via Regulation CF must file information with the SEC and post it on their websites on an annual basis. Receiving regular company updates is important to keep shareholders educated and informed about the progress of the company and their investment. This annual report includes information similar to a company’s initial Reg CF filing and key information that a company will want to share with its investors to foster a dynamic and healthy relationship.
In certain circumstances a company may terminate its ongoing reporting requirement if:
- The company becomes a fully-reporting registrant with the SEC
- The company has filed at least one annual report, but has no more than 300 shareholders of record
- The company has filed at least three annual reports, and has no more than $10 million in assets
- The company or another party purchases or repurchases all the securities sold in reliance on Section 4(a)(6)
- The company ceases to do business
However, regardless of whether a company has terminated its ongoing reporting requirement per SEC rules, SeedInvest works with all companies on its platform to ensure that investors are provided quarterly updates. These quarterly reports will include information such as: (i) quarterly net sales, (ii) quarterly change in cash and cash on hand, (iii) material updates on the business, (iv) fundraising updates (any plans for next round, current round status, etc.), and (v) any notable press and news.
You can return to SeedInvest at any time to view your portfolio of investments and obtain a summary statement. In addition to monthly account statements, you may also receive periodic updates from the company about their business.
Securities purchased through a Reg CF offering are not freely transferable for one year after the date of purchase, except in the case where they are transferred:
- To the company who sold the securities
- To an accredited investor
- As part of an offering registered with the SEC (think IPO)
- To a member of the family of the purchaser or the equivalent, to a trust controlled by the purchaser, to a trust created for the benefit of a member of the family of the purchaser, or in connection with the death or divorce of the purchaser
Regardless, after the one year holding period has expired, you should not plan on being able to readily transfer and/or sell your security. Currently there is no market or liquidity for these shares and the company does not have any plans to list these shares on an exchange or other secondary market. At some point the company may choose to do so, but until then you should plan to hold your investment for a significant period of time before a “liquidation event” occurs. A “liquidation event” is when the company either lists their shares on an exchange, is acquired, or goes bankrupt.