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Early PayPal investor backs Foodspotting

The mobile food-finding start-up has raised a $3 million Series A round from Bluerun Ventures, and hopes to use the new resources to find ways to appeal to a mass market audience.


Bluerun Ventures, an investment firm best known for its early stake in PayPal and now focused on backing new mobile companies, is the lead investor in a $3 million Series A funding round for Foodspotting, an iPhone and Android app that hopes to be "like a Pandora for food" according to its CEO and co-founder Alexa Andrzejewski.

The rest of the funding round, which was announced Monday, consists of contributions from existing angel investors (the company raised a $750,000 round last summer). Foodspotting, a location-based application that lets users contribute photos of what they're eating at different restaurants and then search for nearby foods, is still small--it recently passed 500,000 downloads of its iPhone app and launched an Android version last month (and says that 275,000 different food photos have been uploaded). It's had the benefit of some very good press, with Apple naming it an "app of the week" and the likes of Wired and Time magazines putting it on year-end lists of top apps or Web services.

But what's interesting about the company's plans after this funding round are that it hopes to expand the product to appeal to the people who won't be sharing photos.

"Our main focus with this round is really trying to get the message across that Foodspotting is not just for foodies, and we're really trying to make it the easiest way for anyone to find food," Andrzejewski told CNET. "If we can become the one-stop shop for food recommendations not just from users, but from experts, it'll have more mass market appeal. Some people don't care what the crowd thinks, but they do care what Anthony Bourdain thinks."

Consequently, the company hopes to continue outreach to media partners as well as restaurants and small businesses. The Travel Channel, which airs chef and foodie idol Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" program, is already on board, as are restaurant reviews giant Zagat and a number of food blogs and newsletters like YumSugar and Tasting Table. Foodspotting hopes that with a few more additions, it'll continue to build the kind of audience that's pretty different from the Foursquare-friendly norm.