Facebook group for food lovers EatTreat has raised $350k from a group of 15 investors including Divitas Capital, Homi Adajania, Bandana Tewari, Sussanne Khan, Kalyani Saha (Dior Couture, India), Nonita Kalra, Andrea Aftab and Pia Pauro (directors at EATINC and proprietors of Amici and the Imperial Hotel) and Shiv Khanna (director, Catalyst Ventures), reports ET Tech.
The Egg Communication owned Delhi-based platform will use the funding for hiring new employees, creating its product and building infrastructure. The platform will venture beyond having a simple Facebook group and now plans to create a website with a database of recipes and articles related to food. Interestingly, the company mentions that it continues to retain the majority of its stake and plans to raise another round of funding by 2016.
As of now the EatTreat is a Facebook public group that anyone can join. Users can write reviews and recommendations for any dining establishment they choose, share recipes and post links to interesting cooking articles. The group, however, does not allow links to personal blogs, other groups or pages, promotions of brands, products or other services. As of now, the platform has nearly 50,000 members.
Our take: Its interesting to see a platform first build a user base via Facebook and then raise funding before having a concrete product. It’s not clear what the new website will entail, other than the company’s own “proprietary” content around food recipes and food related articles. Overall it’s easier for logged in Facebook users to click an interesting group message, post a reply to story, or generally engage with the community on Facebook itself, rather than go to another website.
Note that Facebook claims that web articles on its platform take an average of 8 seconds to load, which is the slowest single content type on Facebook. If this is true, then users will also have to deal with content loading slower than it does on the social media platform, so the website will need something really special to continue to build users. Interestingly, whether successful or not, this development could prompt other services to look for opportunities to break free of the mothership while also encouraging further VC investment in such projects.