Startup Yummly like "Google for food"
SAN FRANCISCO (Venture Capital Journal) - Yummly, which provides a cornucopia of food recipes and other food-related social networking functions, this month closed a $1.85 million seed stage round from Harrison Metal Capital (which led the funding), Intel Capital and First Round Capital.
In addition, Yummly (www.yummly.com), which came out of private beta testing in June, raised the seed stage round from a host of angel investors, including Marcia Hooper, who has joined the board with Michael Dearing of Harrison Metal.
"We're going to use the funding to keep doing what we're doing, which is to connect food and people together," said founder and CEO Dave Feller, who previously worked in executive roles at Half.com, StumbleUpon and eBay.
Feller said that Yummly, which he founded in 2009, has six employees, and he expects to hire three to four more over the next six months. The site currently has about 500,000 members, who subscribe to its content.
Yummly is one of a number of food-related sites users can follow online, such as Foodspotting, which focuses on users taking pictures of food and uploading the images on their mobile phones. There are also food recipe and instructional sites, such as the Food Network and others that are run by media players. Recently, the online food community Foodbuzz was acquired by Internet publisher Federated Media Publishing.
But Feller said Yummly is not just a food-oriented social networking site. In addition to providing a means for food lovers to interact, he said Yummly also operates as a semantic recipe search platform that can help people find and discover recipes. The Palo Alto, California-based company also recently launched new features, including a Facebook Taste Test application that allows users to make recipe recommendations tailored to their tastes within Facebook. Yummly now allows users to create and save their own recipes and menus and search for others based on holidays - a feature Feller said he used to salt a turkey for Thanksgiving.
"We're like the Pandora and Google for food," Feller said, noting Yummly currently boasts more than 500,000 recipes on file. "We're definitely a search and discovery company, but we're doing that with food."
One notable aspect about Yummly is that users can input food preferences (such as allergies and dietary filters or budgetary restraints) and the database will remember the likes and dislikes when users conduct recipe searches. The site also calculates the nutritional value of recipes, displaying the breakdown of calories, fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
The customization features are what Feller particularly likes. He said he doesn't like the taste of mustard and was always annoyed when he went to food sites and came across recipes that used the ingredient.
"What sets us apart is that we understand food," said Feller, who started the company in 2009. Yummly's founding angel investors and advisory board includes Dearing from Harrison Metal Capital; Jeff Jordan, CEO of OpenTable; Bruce Shaw, president of The Harvard Common Press; Bill Cobb, former President of eBay, and a former executive of PepsiCo and Yum! Brands; Brad O'Neill, CEO of TechValidate and founding investor of StumbleUpon; and Justin LaFrance and Geoff Smith, co-Founders of StumbleUpon.
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