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'
Little improvement in battery life yields opportunity for alternative, portable energy creating devices [Wall Street Journal]
‘In the gray area between audacious projects and pure science fiction:’ Google aims to solve the world’s problems with new experimental forum [Google Blog]
Snap and search for very specific cuisine around you with redesigned Foodspotting [Business Insider]
Wanna get poached? New job board allows you to post your resume anonymously [Tech Crunch]
Oil giant Halliburton gets hip—switching from Blackberries to iPhones [Apple Insider]
483 million ‘daily active users’ on Facebook… including actions from third party sites [New York Times]
Before the Storm
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.
As Missy Elliot would say, time to get your freak (out) on. Betabeat’s cabbie earlier today explained that he was from the Dominican Republic and would be battenting down the hatches at his house in Queens with techniques passed down in his family through the generations.
For those of you without tropical storms in your pedigree, here are a few must-have apps that will help you get through what must be the only week in New York City history to feature both an earthquake and a hurricane.
1) Hurricane HD: For $2.99 you can track Irene in high def as she barrels towards your borough. Betabeat recommends using the Boxee app to get this puppy up and running on the biggest screen in your house.
2) Foodspotting: It’s day six without power and you’ve run out of Ramen. You’re hearing reports over IRC chat that a cache of gourmet catfood has been discovered nearby and is being prepared as delicious tacos. Should you venture outside in search of sustenance? Pics or didn’t happen.
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.
The Third Degree
OMGNATE. We posted about Nate Westheimer selling the first app he ever coded, Ohours, to Hirelite. Ohours was going great! People loved it! And yet Mr. Westheimer was ready to move on to bigger and better Rubylicious things. Although he demurred when we asked what. But the rumormill is suggesting it’s something to do with social gaming. A source tells Betabeat the stealth project is “a partnership with OMGPOP’s Forman,” referring to the infamous Charles, a friend of Mr. Westheimer’s.
Soraya Darabi is the New York anchor for location-based food blogging start-up Foodspotting and veteran of The New York Times and Drop.io. Betabeat caught up with her recently to ask about Foodspotting, tech and the start-up life.
Food porn went mobile in 2009 when Alexa Andrzejewski (Adaptive Path), Ted Grubb (Get Satisfaction) and Soraya Darabi (New York Times) launched Foodspotting, an app for reviewing specific dishes instead of restaurants.
Foodspotting only wants the good stuff, though. Users upload photos of dishes (“noms”) they love, tagging each with a location. Read More