TrendSpotting: eFood, iEat

12/6/12Follow @sramana

The food industry may seem like the last bastion of brick and mortar companies, relying solely on human efforts. Think again. A new crop of entrepreneurs are taking our love of food out of the kitchen and into the digital realm. Several members of 1M/1M, our global virtual startup incubator, have created specialty brands that help consumers eat better and cook more efficiently.

Platter

Instagram meets Pinterest, but with a focus on preparing food, is the best way to explain Platter. Home cooks can upload a photo of a dish they made to Platter and tag ingredients for other home cooks to search for their dishes. Users can also follow people whose food they find interesting, and post comments and “likes” on pictures. Of course, cooks can cross-share photos on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Founder Will Hodson wanted to drill down into people’s food habits via a micro social network, similar to a food-focused Twitter. He and four other Cambridge (UK) graduates developed the site and smartphone app while working their day jobs, with the focus only food-loving techies could provide. While there are other food photo networks for restaurant dishes, Hodson says that Platter is the only app dedicated to home cooking.

iFood.tv

Launched in 2007, iFood.tv is a popular site for foodies seeking recipe-related video content. With more than 40,000 cooking videos and 200,000 text recipes, all the videos are hosted, managed, and streamed through a content management platform that delovers a blend of multimedia, interactive, and social features. Content is created by an in-house team of editors and sourced from professional chefs, video producers, authors, and media companies.

Co-founder Vikrant Mathur said the idea was conceived when he and the other founders were learning how to cook. All they could find were text-based recipes from Allrecipes.com and Epicurious—there were no videos online to show them how to actually make the dish. They wanted to create something like an online version of the Food Network, so cooks could access information from the comfort of their homes when it was convenient for them. While YouTube is a competitor, Mathur says its content is not tailored to home cooking, nor does it provide a community experience like iFood.tv.

The company has been profitable for the last three years. It has had an average of 3 million monthly unique visitors and close to 125,000 daily video streams. There is a growing display ad network (currently more than 70 sites) using ifood.tv for their monetization needs. In 2012, iFood.tv is well beyond $1M in revenue.

IndiaCakes

IndiaCakes is an online cake delivery shop, offering high-quality birthday and holiday cakes as well as cakes for any occasion to 250 cities in India. Founder Manit Nagri has brought together hundreds of cake shops all over India, and created a consolidated user experience whereby consumers from anywhere in the world can order cakes from them, to be delivered to their friends and family in India. The company is going gangbusters, and is well past the elusive $1M revenue mark in 2012.

The LiveWell Revolution

Nwenna Kai personally battled an illness for over a decade and eventually healed herself with a 100 percent raw vegan diet. She founded Taste of the Goddess Cafe in Los Angeles and pioneered the raw foods movement in California, garnering a large celebrity following. The LiveWell Revolution follows this wellness trend as a multimedia company providing holistic solutions for living a healthier life. It provides both online … Next Page »

Sramana Mitra is the founder of One Million by One Million (1M/1M), a global virtual incubator that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, she writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy, and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. Sramana has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Follow @sramana

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