Service That Lets You Order Food Naked, GrubLess SeamHub, Quietly Files For IPO

screen-shot-2013-05-13-at-4-05-08-pmIn May of last year, we broke the news that Seamless and GrubHub — two of the largest players in the online and mobile food delivery space and “arch rivals” — were coming together as part of a blockbuster merger. My, how fast they grow up. Not nine months later, the merged food-ordering giant has begun to take the next step in its development.



Forkly, The Foodspotting Competitor From Brightkite Founders, Is Looking For A New Home

forkly-1Forkly, a Foodspotting competitor launched back 2010, is shutting down. Well, sort of – it will remain open for six to eight months, and maybe more, while looking for a new home, we’re told. It looked like bad news for the company when one of its co-founders, Martin May, left the startup to join as CTO at Push.io, and now we’ve confirmed why: Forkly is “in transition.” The company, for those unfamiliar, was notable mainly for its creators: Brightkite founders May and Brady Becker. With Brightkite, the team was well ahead of the check-in trend that later led to companies like Foursquare, with the launch of one of the first apps to combine social, mobile and local to form a new kind of network. But Forkly was not quite as groundbreaking. Its emphasis was more on rating individual food items and dishes in order to discover what’s good where, not just sharing pictures of your meal. The idea was to help users build their own “taste graph,” meaning a personalized profile of what you like to eat. In February, the company launched a revamped app they called “Forkly 2.0,” which was designed to make that taste graph more useful through personalized recommendations. Unfortunately, Forkly wasn’t very differentiated from Foodspotting – at least in the eyes of consumers. In addition, it and other food-focused social networks and review platforms have also had to contend with the rise of other companies, like Yelp for reviews, Instagram, where users like to post their meal photos, and, ironically Foursquare, which also lets you find what’s good to eat nearby. Forkly took in $200,000 in seed funding back in May 2011, followed by $700,000 in March 2012, according to its AngelList profile, which hasn’t posted an update for seven months, as of the time of writing. Investors included Jeff Miller (founder of Punchfork), David Cohen, Jim Deters (CEO at Galvanize), and others. The profile also notes that the app had roughly 300,000 users on iOS, and an Android version was due out in March 2013. However, that Android app never launched – the site still lists the app as “coming soon.” Meanwhile, the iOS app has not been updated since this July, and May left for Push.io in September, according to his LinkedIn profile. The company currently has 2.1 million dishes, 360,000 downloads, 500,000 dish ratings, and 93,000 restaurants with ratings. Though the Forkly app is still live


Rocket Internet’s HelloFresh Says Hello To $7.5M, As The Meal Prep Service Sets Its Eyes On The U.S.

hellofreshBerlin’s Rocket Internet has of late made a big business out of incubating and growing e-commerce startups in emerging markets, far away from the U.S. where the competitive field is much more crowded. But today comes news of a funding round for portfolio company HelloFresh that will be used to invest directly in the eye of the storm. The meal-prep company — which assembles ingredients for a dish, and then delivers them with a recipe to your door — has picked up $7.5 million led by Phenomen Ventures, a Russian VC that focuses mainly on e-commerce investments (other fundings include rounds in Fab.com and Uber competitor Hailo).



GrubSeam? Online Takeout Giants GrubHub And Seamless In Talks To Merge

Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 4.05.08 PMToday, thanks to the maturation of the web, digital tech, and smartphones now in seemingly every pocket, startups are finding it easier than ever before to build scalable solutions to finally address the many inefficiencies in our food manufacturing, production and distribution systems.

As interest in food tech balloons, one area in particular appears to already be at the tipping point: Online and mobile food delivery. Over the last few days, we’ve hearing about a merger between two of the largest companies in the space. Rumor has it that “arch rivals” GrubHub and Seamless are in talks which could see them join forces as part of a merger. While our sources tell us that the talks are serious, the terms of the merger are not yet clear and, of course, any potential deal could fall through.


Silicon Valley And The Reinvention Of Food

soylentFake meats have been around for years, but a new crop of Bay Area startups backed by tech investors think they can make meat substitutes good enough to compete with the real deal. The most ambitious project is Rob Rhinehart‘s cheekily named “Soylent,” an attempt to replace food entirely with a liquid shake that has all the protein, fat, carbohydrates and micronutrients you need. The only ingredients recognizable as food are salt and olive oil.