Tastemade Raises $10M To Build The Next Food Network

Tastemade has launched an app that's akin to Instagram for aspiring YouTube personalities

Tastemade, a top online video network for food lovers, has raised $10 million in a Series B round led by Raine Ventures, the company announced on Wednesday. Red Point Ventures, which led Tastemade’s first round of $5.3 million, participated in this round as well.

“It shows a great amount of faith in what we’re doing if they are coming back in,” co-founder Steven Kydd told TheWrap on Wednesday.

Kydd and his two co-founders are building the Food Network of the 21st century. Tastemade produces and distributes videos showcasing recipes, new restaurants and travel spots, reaching an audience of more than 12 million viewers in more than 200 countries across YouTube, AOL, Yahoo and Roku.

Tastemade used some of the new money to launch an app that lets customers create their own episodes about restaurants or dishes they love. Like Instagram or the newly launched MixBit, the app lets users record video and offers a suite of tools to edit them including a built-in template, music and, yes, filters.

Also read: YouTube Founders Take Aim at Vine, Instagram With New 'MixBit' App 

Kydd views the app as a farm system for identifying talented food lovers both on and off YouTube.

“You make a one-minute-show,” Kydd said. “Our goal was how to use software to scale globally and find not just one celebrity but hundreds or thousands.”

When Kydd and co-founders Larry Fitzgibbon and Joe Perez first conceived Tastemade a year ago, they turned to creators like Sorted, a quartet of British friends with a channel more popular than those of celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay.

These aspiring chefs and "tastemakers" lacked a central hub online for all things food.

“The Food Network audience is 50 years-plus," Kydd said. "No one is creating programming for this younger generation and no one is focused on creating food content for digital.”

Also read: Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos on Online Video, Monetization and the Next Seth MacFarlane

Unlike sprawling multi-channel networks Fullscreen or Maker Studios, Tastemade has selectively built out the network. Its staff of 18 produces content for its own titular channel at a studio in Santa Monica (once occupied by MTV), and also has a network of another 140 channels making videos across the globe.

“Tastemade is defining what it means to be a modern media company by leveraging its here core components, a proprietary technology platform, original programming and a diverse network of creators, to provide compelling video content,” Gordon Rubenstein, managing partner of Raine Ventures, the new venture arm of The Raine Group, said in a statement.

The next hurdle for Tastemade, as with any company that raises signficant capital, will be generating significant revenue. Though Kydd stressed that the young company is more focused on its products than its own finances, he and his fellow co-founders have played this game before.

They are three of the six founders of Demand Media, an online media company and owner of properties like eHow and Cracked that went public in 2010. Kydd, Fitzgibbon and  Perez left about a year and a half ago and shortly thereafter conceived Tastemade.

Kydd said that food videos are some of the easiest to monetize thanks to advertisements and brand integration, and noted that they have not had problems monetizing their views that come from foreign countries —  a struggle for many of YouTube’s top networks.

“The audiences are all online; the ones that haven't shifted are the advertisers because there's a misperception it's low quality," Kydd said. "This is HD-quality programming with people who will be the next Jamie Oliver or the next Mario Batali. And they’ll get there through digital – not TV.”