Reda Stare has mathematician background, worked in finance industry and ran digital agency before venturing into PlateCulture. She is avid traveller who explored SouthEast Asia for entire year with only 7kgs on her back.

Audra Pakalnyte, linguist, worked with start-ups in Asia building online communities, ran human resource department before venturing into PlateCulture. She is a socialite having friends from more than 100 countries and real foodie who would anything exotic.

The Asian Entrepreneur speaks to both entrepreneurs in an insightful conversation about the story behind PlateCulture and entrepreneurship.

What is PlateCulture?
PlateCulture is a community marketplace that invites people to dine at the homes of locals and eat authentic food. We connect people who are passionate about cooking and hosting dinner parties to those who are looking for unique dining experience and want to meet new people.

a

Where did the idea for PlateCulture come from?
PlateCulture’s idea originally came from an experience that one of co-founders Reda Stare had during her travel in India a few years ago. While touring the country, she had the honor of being invited to an Indian woman’s house for a home-cooked dinner which she was charged for after the meal. This idea of going off the beaten track to truly experience a culture’s quientessent nature by becoming one with the culture is what prompted the company’s humble beginnings.

Could you walk us through the startup process?

We started PlateCulture in Malaysia, and initially thought the service would be of primary interest to tourists. However, to our surprise, many expats joined in who began to offer a variety of cuisines, which then ushered in locals who wished to experience international cultures themselves. From this, PlateCulture learned and adapted to include all people and all sorts of occasions. From young university students and working singles to household mothers, co-founders now aim to include everyone and to be flexible to allow for all occasions including private dinners if guests choose to book all seats or even corporate team dinners for business events in an intimate setting.

b

How have you been developing PlateCulture since startup?

Since launch in June 2013 we have expanded PlateCulture operations in Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam by offering home dining experiences in biggest cities.

How important is customer experience in your business?

We believe that creating excellent experience is crucial for the business which is strongly based on user reviews and recommendation. People are much keener to try new things which they heard about from their friends and people they trust.

c

Tell us more about the industry.

It’s said that 78% of Gen Y travellers are looking for more authentic experience where they could learn new things and plan it online in advance. We realized that there are not enough of authentic experiences for travellers that would enable them to meet local people and learn about culture in a natural way. When it comes to food, over 30% of traveller’s budget is spent on food during holiday. Therefore, combining cultural learning with food and making friends with locals seemed like the best way to engage current tourism trends.

What is your approach towards human resource?

Having good people in the team is already half way to success. Passionate, smart and driven people can do wonders. We work with people who have strong values and passion for the product. They are not easy to come by, but once you do, keep them close to you.

d

What do you think about startups in Asia?

It’s very exciting time. The region is growing fast and there are plenty of brilliant minds cooking up exciting ideas. Start-up community is at its infant stage and we are happy to be part of it.

What is one important principle that has helped you in your entrepreneurial journey?

It’s very exciting time. The region is growing fast and there are plenty of brilliant minds cooking up exciting ideas. Start-up community is at its infant stage and we are happy to be part of it.

e

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

We did not choose entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship chose us.

Any words of wisdom for entrepreneurs out there?

Work hard and smart, and be prepared to fail and start all over again.

f

Connect with Audra & Reda and PlateCulture today:
Twitter:https://twitter.com/plateculture
Website:http://www.plateculture.com/
Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/plateculture