In just 12 months since being founded, Los Angeles-based Tastemade has carved out a place for itself as the go-to place for high-quality videos about food on Facebook. Now it’s looking to expand onto new platforms — like mobile — and grow its existing user base with an additional $10 million in funding led by the Raine Venture Partners.
Tastemade is best known for running a multichannel network on YouTube that is all about food. But with the investment and the launch of a new mobile app, the company is looking to diversify not just where its videos are seen, but also how creators can make content for its portfolio of products.
First, the funding: Tastemade has brought on an additional $10 million in a round led by Raine Venture Partners, which is the venture arm of media and technology merchant bank The Raine Group. Other Raine investments include textPlus, Vice, OpenSky, and Parchment. The round also included previous investor Redpoint Ventures, which led the company’s $5 million Series A round.
With that money, the Tastemade founding team — made up of ex-Demand Media types — hopes to keep growing its network of content on YouTube, while also exploring new platforms on which creators can make and view videos. In addition to the content it creates on its own, the company now has more than 100 channel partners and gets more than 12 million unique visitors from 200+ countries around the world.
While its primary distribution channel is still YouTube, it’s hoping to gain more ground through other channels and devices, such as AOL, Yahoo, and Roku. With that in mind, the company has launched an iPhone app, which it hopes will provide another way for food fans to create and view awesome content.
The Tastemade iOS app, which was quietly launched a few weeks ago, gives creators a way to easily create video reviews of some of their favorite restaurants or meals. The app is designed to walk users through the process of creating an awesome video, by taking them step-by-step to record an opening, middle, and an end, as well as prompting them to shoot interesting b-roll to be inserted between those sections.
With the app, users can add customized themes for the restaurant description, or different music to go along with the video. They can also apply filters to their videos to spice them up a little. Or they can do none of that — it’s totally up to the users how much they want to customize the video.
Altogether, each video — or episode, as Tastemade calls them — is about a minute long, which is perfect length for viewing on mobile. Videos can also be exported and shared on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, or they can be embedded on other websites.
Not just for shooting video, the app also lets viewers tune in and discover videos that others have shot. It’s also a way for users to find new and interesting local food. Tastemade editors choose interesting videos which are added to the app’s Featured tab, while local places are in the Nearby tab. It’s kind of like a video Instagram just for food.
While the app was primarily built as a way to easily show off great restaurants and users’ favorite meals, some have begun hacking the app to show off their favorite cooking recipes or other short video features. So far, the app has received episodes in more than 100 cities, with users in 17 countries.
For Tastemade, the app has another interesting side benefit — it can help the company find interesting talented creators who might not already be on YouTube. Not everyone has the technical expertise to shoot and edit for their own channel, but the team could provide help to those people who have the right personality for its network.