As we prepare for tonight’s COMMON Pitch competition we’re tasked with the question “Why does Zoko matter”? In a time when we hear of 100′s of new companies every day that make everything “easier”, “quicker”, “cheaper”, “more fun” or hundreds of other adjectives, we always try to ask ourselves if Zoko “matters.” While what “matters” is debatable, we like to go back to our principle goal: helping people connect over food. That’s it. We want people to have better parties more often.
This task sounds easy enough but in a time when 58% of people eat alone it seems like we’ve reached a point where it’s just easier to grab something at the local take-out spot and sit alone in an apartment. While everyone wants some time by themselves, we think that eating with other people matters. Regardless of location, tradition or time period food has been the universal connector. We make friends over spaghetti dinners, close business deals over cocktails, and welcome new neighbors with brownies. Food is the international ice breaker and we’re long overdue for a way to more easily and naturally connect in real life. While a plate of fresh brownies or a holiday dinner with family is great, it’s the symbolic gesture and enduring relationship that really gets us excited. In other words, social media is great but bringing it back to real-life connections is even better. If you haven’t seen this Toyota Venza commercial, we think it hits the point on the head.
One of the expressions we like to use about Zoko is “fearless entertainment.” We’ve spent a lot of time listening at parties and we’re working on addressing every possible ‘barrier to entertaining.’ Whether it’s concerns about too many people coming, not having enough money to host, or not knowing what the crowd will be like, we want to eliminate the burdens on hosts and guests. We’ll know Zoko matters when people can drop in for a quick dinner party on a random Wednesday night instead grabbing a sandwich at the deli or casually share a drink and desserts with some old and new friends instead of defaulting to the bar.