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‘Silicon Valley’ Fact Check: Could Shazam for Food Really Get Funded?

TheWrap asks a leading venture capitalist if Erlich and Jian-Yang’s idea is viable

Apparently, even some of the crazier ideas on “Silicon Valley” might be worth investing in — at least, that’s what one real-life venture capitalist says.

In the latest episode of the hit HBO comedy, Jian-Yang pitches a few venture capitalists on his “see food” app, centered around eight octopus recipes from his grandma back in China, with an incredulous Erlich sitting next to him. The investors, completely thrown by the idea, wonder if “SeeFood” could be the calorie-monitoring equivalent of Shazam – the app that uses lyrics to tell its users the name of a song and its artist. Erlich anxiously grabs the lifesaver being thrown to them and clings to the notion,  eventually locking in $200,000 in funding (although, importantly, we don’t know at what valuation).

But would a “Shazam for food” actually get funding in the real Valley? According to Jason Calacanis, a venture capitalist with investments in Uber, Robinhood and Tumblr under his belt, the answer is yes.

“While I wouldn’t invest in an app that simply tells you what you’re eating, I would consider investing in an app that tells you the caloric value of your food,” Calacanis told TheWrap.

In fact, the ability to take pictures of your meal and receive nutritional info is a proposal Calacanis said he has heard “many times.” He also pointed to Google’s investment in the nutrition area as a sign of the potential viability of something like “SeeFood.”

So Erlich and Jian-Yang may indeed have a worthwhile app on their hands — as long as they can get a working demo up and running. That’s big order.