A look at 500Startups 2nd investment in India : Cucumbertown which launches today

500Startups earlier announced investment in India based Cucumbertown, a recipe based food blogging platform which is launching its product today.

So what exactly is Cucumbertown? Well,  to put it simply, it’s a closely knit tribe curating recipes from the world over.  At the core of it, Cucumbertown wants to be the identity platform for the cook and food lover.


Aren’t there existing Facebook groups, the informal *maker* communities that are anyways building such networks/carrying conversation?

Cofounder, Cherian Thomas shares with me:

“It’s a network of food lovers with an identity. e.g.http://jane.cucumbertown.com/http://trey.cucumbertown.com/http://marekthi.cucumbertown.com/

The whole experience is ridiculously simple that one’s mom, wife, sister will find it delightful to continue contributing. Takes away the pain. Cucumbertown even in its private beta has an engagement of 5(5 days per week) & nearly 100% retention. People who have written one recipe in Cucumbertown have come back write more and more.

In the normal world people resort to creating their own identities like http://closetcooking.com/http://www.archanaskitchen.com/http://www.davidlebovitz.com/ etc. because sites like foodily, allrecipes etc. consider the author as a secondary citizen in the system. These sites are essentially fleshing out wordpress, Tumblr etc. Way too difficult for mortals.
At Cucumbertown the author is the cynosure. Make the experience delightfully simple for him/her.”

The BIG deal behind Cucumbertown? 

The startup is started by one of the earliest ex-Zynga India engineer, a partner at the world’s leading design firm in Zurich – InformationArchitects (creators of iAWriter) and one of Tumblr’s leading  theme designer.
Cucumbertown is funded by 500Startups, Naval Ravikant (AngelList), Farmville co-creator Sizhao Zao Yang, Maneesh Arora of MightyText, Google, Richard Chen – ex-Google PM, Sonique Player co-creator Tabreez Verjee & Mokriya CEO Sunil Kanderi.

Recipe creation @CucumberTown
Recipe creation @Cucumbertown

Our audacious goal is to make everyone cook. Cucumbertown will become the platform for food. There is quite a bit of complex engineering effort beneath the simple layer you see. For e.g. all recipes are stored in a parsable language format that allows for any part of recipe to be extractable. E.g. calorimeter, extrapolate from 2 servings to 10 etc.

We designed the search experience ground up. E.g. http://www.cucumbertown.com/search/?q=chicken+cheese . This is not an easy task. If you read between the lines Cucumbertown is enabling anyone to publish recipes by fixing all the subtle but very important parts of the ecosystem like search, identity, showcasing expertise, writing experience, have followers etc.

An interesting product, that might seem like a ‘oh! this is just another foodie blogger’s network’, but has a lot of stuff built in the platform (right from point system to preparing CookBooks to collect recipes).

Cucumbertown does compete with existing communities, Facebook groups but a better product/platform (more gratifying) is what it offers to foodies out there. If you are a foodie, do give Cucumbertown a spin and share your comments.

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