Panna raises $1.35M from Anthem Ventures

Steven Loeb · May 6, 2013 · Short URL:

Video cooking magazine allows users to find new recipes and make them alongside celebrity chefs

I love to cook. I find that it is the best way to get to try new things, and it's the only way to make sure that what you are eating is healthy. And, honestly, it's fun to make something for other people that they enjoy. But finding good recipes can be a pain. And, then, it becomes a little bit of a guessing game as to whether it is actually coming out the way it is supposed to. 

Panna attempts to help fix that problem with a video cooking magazine where users can easily cook along with celebrity chefs in their own kitchens. The company has now raised $1.35 million in first round funding, it was announced Monday.

The round was led by Anthem Ventures, with participation from other investors, including Lerer Ventures, Crosslink Ventures, Maveron, Shari Redstone's Advancit Capital, RSL Venture Partners, Launchpad LA, David Tisch's BoxGroup, Rick J. Caruso, Ken Siskind, Jay Livingston, Dan Rose, Aaron Schiff and David Levy.

Panna says that the funding will be used to scale the company. This will involve expanding the team, producing new content and ramping up sales and marketing efforts.

Panna, which launched this past November, was started by David Ellner, a former entertainment industry executive. He was the President of Digital and Business Development for 19 Entertainment, and the Executive Vice President of Global Digital Initiatives at Universal Music Group. 

The idea for the app came from Ellner's own experiences attempting to cook at home.

“Cookbooks are great but I always found myself wanting more. I wondered if the recipes came out the way the chef intended,”  he said in a statement. 

What Panna does is have celebrity chefs host cooking videos that can be accessed via the app on iPhone or iPad, with contains 47 recipes right nowPanna plans to release six issues of ita magazine a year, at a bi-monthly rate. Each magazine will contain 13 seasonal video recipes from its chefs. The app also Panna TV feature, which allows users to watch the entire issue’s content like a TV program.

Content can be both streamed and downloaded and users can add ingredients they need to the new shopping list function, which was released on the iPhone app, and which will be available for the iPad in the next month. Panna is also currently expanding the app to the Android.

The Panna app contains one free recipe from each issue. The entire magazine can be purchased for $4.99, and a full year's subscription costs $14.99.

What Panna does is not a new idea, as there have been cooking shows on television that do the same thing for who knows how long. But Panna separates itself uses high end photos and video production values to make the app a more visually appealing experience.

"We've been blown away by David's ability to get a lot done with very few resources, which makes this cash infusion so exciting,” Ben Lerer, managing director at Lerer Ventures, said in a statement. “Panna's already a beautiful product with awesome talent attached to it and the sky is now the limit."

Some of the chefs on the site include Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto; Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill and Top Chef Masters Winner; Sean Brock of Husk and McCrady’s; Melissa Clark, a NY Times food writer and recipe developer; Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirscheimer of Canal House Cooking; Anita Lo of Annisa and Top Chef Masters; Seamus Mullen of Boqueria and Tertulia; Chad Sarno of Health Starts Here Senior Culinary Educator and R&D Chef; Nancy Silverton of \Osteria Mozza; and Michael Tusk of Cotogna, Quince.

Panna has also secured partnerships with key brands like Sur La Table and Whole Foods to include new chef segments on cooking equipment and vegan friendly meals.

The next issue of the magazine is set to release in June. It will be a summer issue featuring live fire Mexican grilling recipes from Rick Bayless.

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