A vacation in Japan inspired, budding entrepreneur, Alexa Andrzejewski with an idea: a field guide to global food. To learn about bootstrapping her book project, she joined Women 2.0 and started aggressively networking and talking about her plan to catalog restaurant dishes.
Tech start-up veteran programmer, Ted Grubb met her at a happy hour at Adaptive Path, where Andrzejewski was a consultant, and advised she steer her 20th-Century project into the smart phone era.
The idea soon morphed into a photo-sharing location-aware app that amplified a phenomenon they'd already observed happening: "people love to photograph their food, and share their great meals with friends." The app idea soon became known as Foodspotting.
Grubb refined his tech know-how from top to bottom along with the basics of iPhone programming himself and he created a prototype Foodspotting app. The duo soon added New York media darling Soraya Darabi—a former social media manager for The New York Times and current digital strategist for ABC News—to their founder roster, and scored $3 million in angel funding.
Foodspotting, an iPhone application and website that allows users to post and discover nearby mouth-watering restaurant dish recommendations through photographs, launched at last year’s South by Southwest interactive festival, and has been on the forefront of the local, mobile, social app space since. With more than 600,000 foods "spotted," it's an international hit, with global "super spotters" staging "eat-ups" in hundreds of cities globally. Currently, it's developing partnerships with companies, such as The Travel Channel and Zagat, which uses Foodspotting photos on its website and has compiled guides—and created a badge users can earn—for Foodspotting.
The 3-million raised through Bluerun Funding, allowed the company to expand to ten employees: two in New York City, and eight in an open-air-café-inspired office in San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood. To stay connected bi-coastally, Skype and SocialCast are open constantly on everyone's computers. "It's our ambient communication, and our daily journal. Skype is definitely our virtual office," Andrzejewski, who is based in San Francisco, says. "