Today: A special update from Amanda & Merrill.
You may have noticed that we've been keeping a lower profile these past few months. We've been in a strategic phase, working on the site and more importantly, thinking deeply about the brand we're building. (This has involved hunkering down with lots of cold brew and toast!)
We began Food52 by bootstrapping the site with a book deal, and took small infusions of funding as needed to build the company methodically and thoughtfully (some might say scrappily). The site originated as a platform for cooks: We used recipe contests as a way to inspire exceptional cooks to come together and form a community. This has led to a trove of more than 30,000 recipes, 98% of them from our community members.
And as we got to know all of the talented Food52ers out there, we began calling on them to contribute their voices and perspectives via articles as well, which is why 70% of our articles are produced by community contributors. In 2012, this innovative approach to community and content won all of us the James Beard Award for Publication of the Year.
That was just the beginning. Last year, we launched Provisions, our kitchen and home shop. Just as Food52 is a platform for cooks, Provisions is a platform for makers of kitchen and home goods. There are countless artisans and small companies producing wonderful tools, spices, linens, condiments, platters -- all the things that cooks need -- and no easy way for them to reach the right audience. We're bringing them together in one place. (Double oven mitts for all!)
That's what we do: We bring cooks together and we give them everything they need in their cooking life -- social support, excellent content, tools for their kitchens, goods to make their kitchens and homes better, and a platform that inspires them.
No one has done this before, and we created Food52 because we, too, wanted such a place. We are now at a point where the essential pillars of our mission are established, but there's still work ahead.
For a company of our size, we've raised very little money from outside investors to date. A few months ago, we met an investor who spoke our language, who appreciated what it takes to build a brand in our space, and who loves food (the copy of "Modernist Cuisine" in their office did not escape us). Today, we're extremely pleased to announce that, with that lead investor -- 14W, headed up by Alex Zubillaga -- we've raised $6 million to continue expanding the business and brand we are so passionate about. Joining Alex and his partner Nick Brown at 14W is a group of exceptional new investors, including Scripps Networks Interactive (parent company of Food Network), Walden Venture Capital and Robin Klein, as well as existing investors Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Vocap Investment Partners, Joanne Wilson, Thomas Lehrman, VaynerRSE, and others.
All of these people recognize that we've created something original -- something worth building on. We've set the bar high for engagement and quality. Now we want to introduce the brand to more people. Our plan is to get bigger by being better. Over the next year, our team will grow a little (did we tell you we're constructing a new office and kitchen? -- more on that soon!), in order to give you more of what you like.
According to what we hear from you and the data we gather, you're probably reading this on your phone, and you like to use your iPad an awful lot. We're going to give you a new kind of experience for these devices. You like the products we design for Provisions, and there will be more of them. You want a broader range of home-related content, and we're in the process of producing it for you. You enjoy our videos, and you will get more videos! And while we're based in NYC, you're all over the globe -- we plan to get out of New York more often and hope to see you at events, pop-ups, and other new happenings we have in the works near you.
We're still the same site you've always loved, and with your help and support, we hope to get even better. We look forward to collaborating with you on the next phase of Food52!