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Ricardo Tannus MiM 2017 and Co-Founder of Global Dinners

Ricardo Tannus is a MiM2017 and also the co-founder of Global Dinners, a real-life social network for students and employees to create dinner parties to connect with people across their community. 

Hi Ricardo! Can you give us a bit of background about yourself?

I’m a computer engineer by trade and prior to joining LBS I was working at a start-up in Brazil where we used technology to match candidates to the best job opportunities in the market. While working there, I was chatting with a friend who suggested: why not use technology to connect people that have common interests?

The start-up where I was working was excelling, so the decision to leave was particularly difficult but, I told one of my bosses about my dreams to come to LBS and use the knowledge I had gained to build a wider community, leveraging on technology. They were not only understanding, but also extremely supportive and I knew LBS would be the perfect place for this venture, given its focus on community.

How did Global Dinners start?

During my time at the start-up, I had become good friends with one of my colleagues, Juliano, who became my partner on the project.

I sent an email to a sample of 100 MiMs and MFAs from my class and invited them to a very different kind of dining experience – one where they’d be put into a group of six and assigned a restaurant. The attendees would be kept secret to prevent any sort of preconceptions and the diners would have the course of the dinner to try and get to know each other.

We got 60 sign-ups and divided the sixty people into ten groups of six. The idea was to keep the dinner parties big enough to guarantee that everyone would meet new people, but also small enough to ensure they would converse. We randomised streams and nationalities to make sure diners were being introduced to new people and the feedback was phenomenal. My colleagues loved the idea and we kept on organising dinner parties; expanding to MBAs, EMBAs, MiFs and Sloans.

We then introduced a pre-payment for the dinners and started negotiating set menu deals with the restaurants and forwarded the discounts to our users, giving them yet another reason to join us.

Where is Global Dinners today?

Our website has over 1,200 members from LBS, LSE, UCL, King’s College and Imperial College and this has materialised without any marketing costs – aside from university mailing lists promotion – all our new users came from word-of-mouth referrals.

We now offer social dinners with no set topics, themed dinners where there’s a main discussion topic and also speaker dinners where one of the six diners is an industry expert or an alumni who comes to share their experience.

To participate in one of our dinners, our users sign-up on our website http://www.globaldinners.com and fill out a questionnaire about their interests, which we use to recommend personalised dinners.

Alternatively, if one of our users wants to meet someone specific from the community, or if they want to discuss a topic that’s not listed on our website, or even want to join one of our dinners as a speaker, they can contact us on info@globaldinners.com. We absolutely love our users’ feedback and wouldn’t be where we are without them.

What’s the aim of Global Dinners?

In a world where people are increasingly communicating in more impersonal ways, missing out on meeting people who are just across the corridor, we want to make people feel more connected to those around them, over a wide range of activities, and Global Dinners are just the start.

If you want to be a part of it, why not join us for dinner?

Have you received support from the LBS community?

The LBS community has been one of our strongest pillars. We’ve recently been accepted into the Incubator programme and are now working on improving our service, perfecting the website, the technology and the scalability of the business – aided by a fantastic international team from LBS and Imperial students. Our Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) is to be a full-fledged social network that’s actually social.