The goal of LetsLunch is to encourage networking among like-minded business professionals. The focus is on in-person interactions to increase each user’s business network.Show more screenshots »
LetsLunch was founded by Alain Raynaud and Syed Shuttari in 2010. Currently, the cities available for lunches are San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and New York. Other cities are currently in beta testing and the founders hope to expand globally.
This is an online application being used to promote in-person interaction. Many networking sites keep interactions online, but the founders have set up a system for busy professionals to meet on equal footing for network building.
Once logged in, users indicate their city of residence or work by entering their zip code. The map then centers on this area and shows a predefined area for lunch invitations. Users may use the black handles on the map to encompass a larger area. There are many users in Silicon Valley, and very few in the review area. Small icons indicate LetsLunch users, but no names or any information about their area of business or any other data. (If the lunch is set up, users will be able to view each other’s LinkedIn profiles) Next, users indicate when, during the next ten days, they are available for a business lunch. Clicking on a date brings up a time menu for availability as well.
Beneath the dates available section, it says that confirmation will be sent by 2pm two days before the date that was marked available. The user is asked to confirm or cancel by the next day. If both users can make it, a selection of restaurants is offered.
The dashboard indicates upcoming lunches, whether they are matched or not and whether there is a set location. A reputation rating is computed after feedback from your lunch partner. Users may add VIPs to their wishlists of CEOs and other high level executives who use the service.
It will be difficult for those outside of San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and New York City to find many connections. The site indicated that it needs 94 more people to join in order to go live in my city. It includes an invitation code to share with friends via email, Facebook, or LinkedIn. It does not indicate whether users will be matched for lunches if they are in an area that indicates another user if the optimal number of people do not join.
Also available are links to “How It Works”, with a simplified explanation of the LetsLunch process; FAQ, with answers for many users; an About Us page that explains the genesis of the project, including company news and contact information; a link to view the user’s public profile; and a link to the company Blog with updates and news.
Users must request an invitation to join if they have not received an invitation code from another member. Step 1 is to provide an email address, Step 2 is to connect the user’s LinkedIn account, and Step 3 is to provide a twitter or Hacker News username (optional). The site states that the code will be sent within 24 hours.
Invitation code was sent within 4 hours with an activation link to create a new account. Users are prompted to enter the Invitation code, first and last names, email address, and password. The password was quite long and actually extended beyond the margins of the email, so it took several tries to get the entire code. (It was in white so beyond the boundary it did not show up)
The only cost associated with LetsLunch.com is the cost of lunch!
Business professionals who wish to expand their networks might benefit from LetsLunch.com. It facilitates connections between people who might otherwise not meet. This helps to build more connections and solid business networks.