It’s really hard to review food apps without getting distracted and wishing someone would just invent a machine that would teleport cronuts right to your desk. Or maybe a 3D printer that could print cronuts? I want a damn cronut!
Delicious fusion pastries aside, food apps are the best. Tastemade is one such food app that’s aiming to become the Food Network of mobile, and the company announced Thursday that it has raised $10 million in a Series B round led by new investor Raine Ventures, with help from existing investor Redpoint Ventures.
While the company has been around for a year as a food network on YouTube, it just launched its mobile app in July.
The app is a slight departure from the YouTube network, which features more cooking shows. The mobile app is specifically for restaurant reviews—or rather, restaurant raves.
The idea is that users go to their favorite restaurant and shoot a bunch of small clips that they can then edit in minutes to create a fully functional, polished, one-minute “episode.” The app features a handy guide that walks users through the process of creating their own episode, and when it’s done—bam, you have a little “show” that would’ve taken you ages to edit from raw video on your computer.
Tastemade’s network has amassed a user base of some 12 million unique visitors from more than 200 countries, and more than 50% of all network views are coming from mobile devices.
But it’s not just a Yelp with videos. Co-founders Joe Perez and Steven Kydd say the app is geared more towards celebrating your favorite restaurants and creating “raves” rather than reviews. Once upon a time, there was a rating system but it was removed because it didn’t jibe with the thesis of Tastemade, which is to be a destination where users can learn and rave about the best restaurants in the world.
“Food network was started 20 years ago for all things food and lifestyle. It created the category brand. No one has done that on mobile,” said Kydd. “The 18-34 generation isn’t really getting the types of programming and experiences they want from traditional broadcast TV. We’re meeting the needs of a generation craving specific types of programming.”
The app has clear potential for a larger lifestyle platform, and Perez and Kydd say that food is the perfect gateway.
“Food is wonderful jumping off point. We already have some travel shows centered around food. People are posting episodes on traveling to India or Spain, but doing it through the theme of ‘eating my way through India or Spain,’” said Joe Perez. “We’re going to focus on food first and then branch off into logical verticals.”
Since launching the app less than a month ago, “episodes” have been created in 20 countries and seven different languages.
"Digital media companies that are able to fully harness instantaneous, global reach via mobile and social platforms are well positioned to disrupt the old guard," said Gordon Rubenstein, managing partner of Raine Ventures, in a statement. “Tastemade is defining what it means to be a modern media company by leveraging its three core components, a proprietary technology platform, original programming and a diverse network of creators, to provide compelling video content with dramatic efficiencies.”
The founders plan to use the capital from this round to build out the technology platform (adding maps and other features in the near future) and growing the network.