I am your classic fat kid. I love food. Absolutely, LOVE food. I moved into my new house for no other reason than it is behind a pizza place.
But I am not alone in my passion for food. There are millions of foodies, I'm certain.
And, Foodspotting.com hopes to get all of them snapping photos of their favorite dishes to share with the world. If you can't guess, Foodspotting is a site which lets users photograph a particularly gorgeous meal and share their new find and its location with others.
Think Foursquare meets food.
The startup Wednesday announced it's raised $750,000 in seed funding led by Aydin Senkut’s Felicis Ventures, and with participation from Dave McClure’s 500 Startups, Shana Fisher’s High Line Venture Partners, Zelkova Ventures, and 2020 Ventures. Several angel investors also chipped in, including Dave Morin of Path, product manager of Google Latitude Steve Lee, Derek Dupes of Dipity, and Dan Martell of Flowtown.
Since the San Francisco, Calif.-based startup launched its Web site in January, some 100,000 foods have been spotted around the world, and the app, which was released in March, has been downloaded 120,000 times. The company got its start, when CEO Alexa Andrzejewski returned to the United States from her first trip to Japan and Korea with a craving for newfound favorites, like Okonomiyaki and Tteobokki, but couldn’t find them. Her sudden dilemma gave her the idea to combine food, photography, and mobility.
“At its essence, Foodspotting is about making it easier and more natural to stumble upon good things in the world around you, and that’s why we opted for the visual approach to sharing interesting finds,” she told me this afternoon. “It’s a lot more natural to learn about something by seeing it than by reading about it. Many local guides and review sites were originally designed for the web, for when you’re sitting at your computer, researching something. But Foodspotting was made for mobile from the start.”
The Foodspotting concept is fairly simple. When you sit down to a really good meal, you take a picture of it and share it with other Foodspotting users. It’s not for food that you hate, or for every single food item that you pop into your mouth. It’s about finding good food in any given locale and reveling in your new discovery.
Food can also be rated. The highest rating is the “nom”—as in the sound you make when you eat (nom, nom, nom!). Noms are only for the very tastiest selections, so new users get five noms to start with, and then they have to earn the right to nom after that. Users can also earn tips for sighting food, and 100 tips equates to one new nom.
The idea of photographing one’s food is not particularly new. The New York Times published an article on the concept back in April, and several Web sites have been created for the exclusive purpose of photographing food. One of the subjects profiled in the Times article, Javier Garcia, started ejavi.com/JaviDiet, where he posts pictures of every single item of food he eats during the day (lots of popcorn, cereal, and protein bars). Garcia began his Web site in an effort to stay lean, after losing 80 pounds.
But Foodspotting isn’t about all food. Nor is it about weight-loss or popular dining spots. As the Web site emphasizes: “It’s just about good food.”
The company’s “good food” mantra has brought them some good news in recent weeks. Earlier this month Foodspotting partnered with Zagat, one of the leading providers of consumer generated survey information, to provide users with Foodspotting pictures when considering a Zagat-rated restaurant. The company has also teamed up with the Travel Channel, and is planning future travel-based concepts similar to Foodspotting.
“We’d like to extend the concept to travel experiences and other products by making it easy for people to recommend something they’ve experienced or purchased or seen in a store,” said Andrzejewski.
The company has recently purchased the domains sightspotting.com and goodspotting.com, but plans to be very careful about how it expands by focusing on only one vertical at a time. “It gives people a clear trigger for when they’re supposed to use the app (I’m eating, so I should send a photo to Foodspotting!), versus other sites that are about sharing anything anywhere, and can be too broad," she added.
Foodspotting has also begun work on a new Android app and recently opened their headquarters in a loft in San Francisco’s SoMa district, complete with a full kitchen for hosting Eat-Ups.
Now, as a fellow foodie, would I take photos of dishes I like? Would I find the time? Would others? People love to share, and this is just another outlet to do so.
Clearly, there is something very appetizing and tasty about this concept. And, at the very least, it may get restaurant owners to be more cognizant of preparation.
Image source: Wordpress.com