Exit This Way
Another sexy startup has made it across the finish line, following in the fleet footsteps of Instagram. AllThingsD reports that the reservations platform OpenTable has shelled out $10 million to purchase Foodspotting. It ain’t a billion dollars, but it’s not too shabby given that the photo-based recommendations startup had raised $3.75 million in its three years of life.
Less than a year after Foodspotting cofounder Soraya Darabi stepped down from her day-to-day role, the company has lost another prominent representative of the brand. Last month, Amy Cao, head of community and social media at the food guide, opted out of the startup for the freelance life.
Ms. Cao, the consumate foodie behind sites like Amy Blogs Chow and Stupidly Simple Snacks, was very much a public face for the startup–so much so that the tipster who told us she left mistook Ms. Cao for one of the startup’s cofounders. Ms. Cao did not respond to a request for comment from Betabeat. But according to her LinkedIn profile, she is now freelance social media and community director for startups like Levo League and Consmr, which demo’d at last night’s New York Tech Meetup.
Foursquare Be Hustlin'
Food porn social network Foodspotting has arguably been threatened by Foursquare ever since the latter added photos to its check-ins. Dennis Crowley and Foodspotting co-founder Alexa Andrzejewski, “The king and queen of location-based services,” as nerd blogger Robert Scoble put it, have been on cautiously friendly terms.
But now Foursquare is making a blatant move into Foodspotting territory with a foodie walking tour for media “where we’ll discuss how Foursquare can help you share your expertise on local restaurant favorites, cheap eats, happy hour deals, and more,” according to a publicity rep.
Soraya Darabi, public face and retroactively-named co-founder for the Bay Area start-up Foodspotting, has effectively left her daily role at the company.
Ms. Darabi, who has more than 429,000 followers on Twitter and a strong personal brand as a tech-savvy marketer, was brought on to get publicity for Foodspotting. And she did it well, evangelizing the service by word of mouth, on Twitter and through myriad interviews with outlets from Betabeat to Mashable (“How Soraya Darabi Put Foodspotting on the Map”) to New York magazine.
But Ms. Darabi had little input on product, sources close to Foodspotting told us, and she seemed less enthusiastic about Foodspotting as time went on and the service had trouble gaining traction in the face of threats from competitors as intimidating as Foursquare.