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Indian Food Startup Authenticook Gets Rs 1.45 Cr from Booking.Com

Applicants from 102 countries applied for the program with India based entities registering third highest number of entries worldwide

Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choices of incredible places to stay, announced the award recipients of its first accelerator programme for start-ups in sustainable tourism, Booking.com Booster. Backstreet Academy from Singapore was awarded this year’s top grant of €400,000 for their proposed scaling plans. From India, Authenticook made it to the final selection of top 10 ventures globally to pitch for grants and received €200,000 from the program. The top 10 shortlisted ventures underwent three weeks of workshops and intensive coaching and had the opportunity to pitch their scaling plans to a live audience and panel of expert judges in Amsterdam.

Launched earlier this year, the Booking.com Booster Programme was created to identify, mentor and fund promising start-ups dedicated to sustainable tourism in one of the following areas: protecting the environment, preserving cultural heritage and/or promoting inclusive growth in tourism that supports local economies and communities. 700 start-ups from across 102 countries applied to the programme with entities from India registering the third highest number of applications.

Authenticook wants to empower one million Indian women to showcase their culinary talent through an alternate source of income and preserve the unique and diverse culinary heritage of the Indian Sub-Continent and plans to scale their platform to reach more customers and communities through their immersive and social dining experiences.

Commenting on the culmination of the awards, Gillian Tans, CEO-Booking.com said, “The ambitious creativity and innovative ideas we’ve seen from all of the startups who joined our Booking.com Booster Programme this year were truly inspiring. I was particularly impressed with the entrepreneurial vision they all demonstrated in approaching a wide array of different challenges related to sustainable tourism. I’m really looking forward to seeing their plans unfold as these amazing companies continue to bring their vision for a more sustainable future for the global tourism industry to even more destinations worldwide.”

Shedding light on Authenticook’s selection as part of the program, Vikas Bhola, Head – Indian Subcontinent, Booking.com said, “While we were highly impressed with all the start-ups from India that applied, we saw in Authenticook a truly great idea, smart business acumen and the ability to promote inclusive growth in Indian tourism that supports and develops local economies and communities.”

Mumbai-based Authenticook which was founded in 2015, aims to create a platform for home chefs to showcase their culinary skills and change the way people celebrate cuisines and learn about new cultures through the medium of food. Based on the fundamental belief that food is a religion that transcends boundaries, regions and prejudices, Authenticook positions itself as an avenue that brings people closer through the common love of food.

Said Ameya Deshpande, Co-Founder and Head of Strategy, Business Development & Finance, Authenticook, “Being a part of Booking.com’s Booster Program has been a huge opportunity for Authenticook and will open many doors for us in the future. Working with other likeminded businesses across various industries and learning from each other over the past few weeks has been incredible. We can’t wait to take what we’ve learned back to our colleagues in order to empower more Indian women and showcase our diverse culinary history with customers from all over the world."

Along with Authenticook, the other ventures that were awarded grants from the 2017 Booking.com Booster Program are Seabin (Australia and Spain), Local Alike (Thailand), GoodHotel (Guatemala and the UK) and Desolenator (UK and the Netherlands). 


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