Tastemade, a digital multichannel food and lifestyle network, closed a $25 million Series C round of funding with plans to further its video content production and app expansion, the company announced Thursday.
Scripps Networks Interactive led the round, which included Liberty Media and existing investors Redpoint Ventures, Raine Ventures and Comcast Ventures.
“Today’s food lover is both creating and sharing content, and Tastemade has developed technology to harness this creativity through the power of video,” said Joseph G. NeCastro, chief financial and administrative officer at Scripps Networks Interactive, in a statement.
Tastemade produces original video content and distributes it across its global food network through multiple digital platforms. Since announcing its $5.3 million Series A round in March 2013, Tastemade has added a 7,000-square-foot production studio in Santa Monica. Its YouTube channel has more than 18 million unique visitors every month.
Co-founder Larry Fitzgibbon said Thursday’s Series C fund would go toward expanding its product and engineering teams as well as further develop the company’s relationships with sponsored brands.
“We’ve developed a model that works amazingly for our audience,” Fitzgibbon said. “We’re making high quality content that they’re excited about, but also a vehicle for brands to reach the audience.”
Tastemade matches its editorial concepts with potential sponsors, a business model that isn’t apologetic for its open product placement. Tastemade’s newest show, “Local Flight,” challenges mixologists across the country to create inventive cocktails using local ingredients. Its inaugural episode, set in Los Angeles, features a grapefruit-flavored hybrid fruit, craft bar Melrose Umbrella Co. and the show’s sponsor, Grey Goose vodka.
“The way we try to approach it is to be very upfront with what we’re doing,” he said, pointing to the Grey Goose sponsorship displayed in the show’s opening. “I think our audience really appreciates that honesty. And they’re smart to realize that we really couldn’t create that kind of programming if we didn’t have a partner to do it with.”
Tastemade also said Thursday its app would be available for Android phones in early July. The app, already available on iOS, allows users – dubbed “Tastemakers” – to shoot, edit and produce one-minute HD videos that can be shared across the company’s mobile and social platforms.
“What we did with the app was hopefully create something that was really easy for people to create really compelling videos,” Fitzgibbon said. “More than just enable people to create little clips, we really want to empower people to create a one-minute show.”
One app user, 24-year-old Tina Yun, enjoys shooting and starring in her own food channel. Yun, who works at a mortgage servicing company in Orange County, also runs a food blog during her spare time. In just one month of using the Tastemade app, she has produced 11 videos.
“If you want to blog about your food online through YouTube, it takes more effort to edit and make fancier,” Yun said. “This gives you the tools and creativity to become a videographer.”
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