Foodspotting Idea Incubated by Women 2.0, Scores $3M Series A Funding from BlueRun Ventures

foodspotting-website-sm.jpg

The Foodspotting story began over a year ago when a user experience designer at Adaptive Path. Alexa Andrzejewski (on Twitter at @ladylexy) traveled to Japan, learned about new foods like Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki, and woke up one morning with the idea to publish a book -- a field guide to food and to introduce people to food. As Alexa shared her idea with others, she began to realize that this idea would make a great website and mobile app, but she had no idea where to start. Alexa met another young woman entrepreneur who had an idea, joined Women 2.0 and Startup Weekend, and went on to form a team and realize her startup idea. Alexa suddenly realized that there might be a way to make her idea real, and not knowing where to start, she decided to join Jumpstart Your Startup -- the pre-cursor program to Founder Labs.

At the Women 2.0 program, Alexa was able to evolve her idea. Her breakthrough moment came when guest speaker Megan Casey, co-founder of Squidoo, said, "Did you know that one of the most popular Flickr tags is food? I think you should refocus your designs on the photos!" Alexa went home and revisited her initial mockups of a "Yelp for Dishes" and came up with the first wireframes of the "visual guide to good food and where to find it" -- Foodspotting. Alexa attended the first annual Women 2.0 Startup Weekend where the rest of the details fell into place. A first time entrepreneur, Alexa blew away the Startup Weekend audience with her iPhone app idea. One of the Startup Weekend judges, Dan Martell, was so excited he showed his support with a small amount of angel funding on the spot on that day. Co-founder Ted Grubb confirmed that he was all in on the final demo night of Startup Weekend as well. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The co-founders went on to launch the Foodspotting website on January 15, 2010, and this past weekend, foodspotters around the world celebrated Foodspotting's first birthday with over 100 eatups and a 300+ person party in San Francisco.

Alexa admits, “I never realized that ordinary people like me could start companies until I started meeting people from Women 2.0. I never thought of myself as an 'Entrepreneur' -- I just had an idea I was passionate about, and needed to know how to make it real. Jumpstart Your Startup and the people I met through Women 2.0 answered that question for me, and I can't believe how far we've come since then." Time Magazine named Foodspotting one of the 50 Best Websites in 2010.

Foodspotting investor BlueRun Ventures is alsoan anchor sponsor for the current Mobile Edition of Founder Labs. Coincidentally, they announced the funding of Foodspotting on the first official day of our third program – ironic? Exciting! Great karma.

We talked to Jay Jamison of BlueRun Ventures about this investment who said, “We are very excited about Foodspotting's vision to become 'The Pandora for Food.' The Foodspotting team has attracted and built a large, passionate community around food. The team has displayed a very strong user-centered approach to design, which we think makes Foodspotting really stand out as the mobile application to go to if you are interested in food. Describing great meals has been around since Homer’s Odyssey, and we see great opportunities for Foodspotting to continue to extend its leadership in this exciting space.”

We at Women 2.0 are celebrating a big win for Alexa as we’ve watched her grow in our community

Did Women 2.0 help you get to where you are? Tell us about it, we’d be happy to share your story! Photo credits: PHP-Princess's iPhone App Review of Foodspotting, Programming Blog