"NUS Enterprise really helped us so much - even when we were only at our ideation stage. They provided many resources - funding, incubation space and most importantly; great mentorship that supported us endlessly, guiding us through the different stages of our growing business."
- Rinita Vanjre, Co-founder of BonAppetour
It was Christmas in Paris. After an unfruitful search for restaurants open for dinner, Rinita Vanjre and Inez Wihardjo came up with a brilliant idea - to offer travelers affordable yet authentic home dining.
This was the inception of BonAppetour. Rinita and Inez - who crossed paths in mid-2012 while participating in the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) programme - drew inspiration from famed vacation rental site Airbnb, but aimed to connect both locals and tourists in unique experiences such as authentic home dining and cooking classes. The pair then roped in third co-founder Giovanni Casinelli at the 54-Hour Hackathon at the Start-up Weekend held in Milan in 2013.
Initially, BonAppetour's founders faced several conceptual challenges, such as appealing to travellers or hosts, method of payment, and safety regulations. With no website nor credibility, finding BonAppetour's first users was also a challenge. NUS Enterprise offered them support through being the first company to give them a SG$10,000 grant and resources to test out their prototypes and new markets. They also received incubation support at Prince George's Park, and The Hangar at I-cube, where they currently reside. The trio's hard work eventually paid off as BonAppetour was officially launched in 2014. Starting from cities in Europe such as Venice, Milan, Barcelona, Lisbon and Paris, BonAppetour has spread across the globe to over 150 cities.