Soraya Darabi, Ted Grubb, and Alexa Andrzejewski
The founders of Foodspotting wanted to take advantage of two trends enabled by smartphones: People seek restaurant reviews on the go and diners post pictures of their meals. "We looked and realized there were many ways to rate and review restaurants but no way to rate specific dishes," says Alexa Andrzejewski, Foodspotting's 27-year-old chief executive officer, who co-founded the company with Ted Grubb and Soraya Darabi in late 2009. The website and iPhone app, which has been downloaded 600,000 times, show users top-rated dishes near them, invite them to look up specific restaurants and see others' favorite meals, and let them share snapshots and reviews of what they're eating. Foodspotting has published more than 300,000 recommendations since the beta version launched at the start of 2010. The company raised $3.75 million in angel and venture capital and has a team of six full-timers, plus a few contractors working out of its San Francisco loft. Deals for sponsored local guides from brands such as the Travel Channel generated some revenue, but Andrzejewski says the broader plan is to test a local advertising system that would let restaurants alert nearby Foodspotters to specials and discounts. Apps for Android and BlackBerry smartphones are expected to be released in March, and the company's goal is to tailor recommendations for dishes to suit each user's taste. Says Andrzejewski, "Our long range vision is to see Foodspotting become the Pandora for food."
—John Tozzi (posted on Feb. 4, 2011)