Food52 Life

Looking Forward at Food52

by:
September 30, 2014

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!)  

Shop the Story

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!

Tags:

53 Comments

Elaine D. October 7, 2014
Hooray for Food52! The site is a true disruptor that breaks through the clutter of food resources by celebrating the passion, beauty and flavor behind home cooking and entertaning. Love it!
 
Transcendancing October 6, 2014
Congratulations on everything you've achieved and everything to come - it sounds exciting!
 
Sigita October 6, 2014
Delighted to hear that you will continue to grow and improve what we see!
 
Carlynn W. October 3, 2014
Congratulations, and much applause on a job already so well done! I always look to Food52 for beautiful content, beautiful things {to buy!}, and as you said yourselves, this community! I can't wait to see what else you have in store for us : )
 
ATG117 October 2, 2014
Congrats!<br /><br />Really hope the site continues to maintain its character and doesn't turn into an epicurious or foodnetwork.com. Also, wondering why the need for Weight Watchers sponsored ads, in any case, but especially if so much money has been raised. It's the Weight Watchers, not the sponsorship that I find slightly off-putting<br />
 
Ralph October 1, 2014
Congrats. I love food52 and hope for its continued success.
 
WeeklyGreens October 1, 2014
Wow! This is fantastic news! Big congrats to Amanda, Merrill and the whole fabulous team at Food52. I can't wait to see what you come up with next.
 
marula Z. October 1, 2014
Congratulations!!! keep it up
 
mcs3000 October 1, 2014
HOORAY ! LOVE Food52!
 
molly Y. September 30, 2014
So exciting!!!!!!!!! I love you guys so much and I am so happy about this news!!!!!
 
Lizthechef September 30, 2014
Well done - it has been a fabulous five years. Proud to be a part of this community from the get-go.
 
AntoniaJames September 30, 2014
Such good news . . . now, hope to see you up the ante, to become a B Corporation!! That would certainly set your brand apart, while demonstrating leadership of the best kind. Do it. ;o)
 
healthierkitchen September 30, 2014
Congrats! I look forward to seeing what you all have up your sleeves for the future!<br />
 
Lee W. September 30, 2014
I am so happy for you. I wrote a feature about you, Amanda, some years back at the time you said the New York Times didn't have a test kitchen and your own kitchen had very little counter space, either. You are in the Big Time now. Should you need any help, I am an iPad away.
 
Karena D. September 30, 2014
How exciting and !well deserved. Congratulations! This is my favorite site for all things yummy. Even when I'm cleansing I live vicariously through the images and reader comments. Can't wait to see what's coming next.
 
Vivi B. September 30, 2014
Congratulations! As a Toronto cook and food enthusiast, I am looking forward to being able to buy from Provisions. Bring it, eh?
 
CHeeb September 30, 2014
I could not be prouder of you two. Keep up the good work...ch
 
Elycooks September 30, 2014
Just awesome! Congrats to you all.
 
Cielkaye September 30, 2014
Congratulations all, as it seems that this is the direction you want to travel. I have been attracted to Food52 because of its creativity AND integrity, and I just ask from where are your financial backers to make their financial return?
 
AntoniaJames September 30, 2014
I'd be interested in knowing that too . . . and seeing the deck and spreadsheets used to make the pitch! ;o)
 
cheesypennies September 30, 2014
Well deserved and congratulations! So glad you can both keep up the great work.