Burpple, a mobile app that seeks to connect food lovers around the world, today announced that it has received $500,000 in seed funding from Neoteny Labs and QuestVC. The Singapore-based company was also named one of the top 10 startups in Asia at Open Web Asia 2012, held in Haikou, China.
Based in Singapore and Cambridge, Massachusetts, Neoteny Labs focuses on early stage startups in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region (it has also invested in international companies like Path and Viki). QuestVC is headed by James Tan, co-founder of 55tuan, one of China’s top group buy sites, and seeks out companies with “scalability and replicability in large Internet communities.” Launched in December 2011 by Dixon Chan, Elisha Ong and Daniel Hum, the app currently has users in 3,300 cities and 115 countries, who have shared over 170,000 dishes. The founders of Burpple say that partnering up with QuestVC “brings a wealth of knowledge to our growth strategy in China and Southeast Asia,” as well as other markets around the world (the app already has a version in simplified Chinese).
Aside from having a name that’s fun to say repeatedly, Burpple’s attractive and intuitive interface allows users to easily keep food journals and connect with other people who enjoy eating (and taking photos of) the same dishes and cuisines.
Chan told me that he and co-founder Ong were inspired to create Burpple while working in Silicon Valley. “We were going to have dinner at this highly rated restaurant, but the menu had 50 different dishes and we didn’t know what to order,” says Chan. “We recalled some friends sharing their recommendations on Facebook and Twitter, but we had great difficulty finding them as these posts were floating around on a sea of social noise.” He also found it hard to pry recommendations from friends who wanted to keep their favorite places to themselves, but didn’t trust reviews from strangers on Yelp and other food apps.
On Burpple, you can follow your favorite users and “reburp” their tastiest looking meals or organize food photos into different categories to quickly look up meals based on different criteria (healthy, home-cooked, special occasion, etc). Upload a snapshot to Burpple and it will automatically make note of the time and your location. Burpple uses Foursquare to suggest restaurants based on your location, uploads and reburps.
Most of Burpple’s users are currently located in China, Japan and Southeast Asia, so you are in luck if you live in those countries or just enjoy slobbering over photos of chicken laksa, chirashi or soup dumplings. There is also a significant presence of US, Canadian and Australian gourmands (the Shack Stack Burger from New York City’s Shake Shack is currently one of the most reburped dishes).
Burpple is currently available on iOS and an Android version is in the works.