Cucumbertown is all about food and food bloggers. As they describe it, Cucumbertown is a closely knit tribe curating recipes from the world over. And it was in late 2012 when we wrote how 4 people across 3 Continents are Making ‘Ratatouille’ Proud with Cucumbertown. And over the last few years, Cucumbertown has been growing silently. Built from India and US, Cucumbertown attracted a global audience and kept nibbling away till it found the sweet spot in terms of the product positioning. Raising an angel round from some high profile investors like Naval Ravikant, Cucumbertown silently raised an institutional round from Helion and Ludlow Ventures. And now, the company has found an exit in the form an acquisition by Japanese behemoth Cookpad. The terms of the deal is not made public but this is among the larger acquisitions that Cookpad has made. Cucumbertown has two offices, in the Bay Area and Bangalore and will remain an independent subsidiary under Cookpad.
Cookpad is a 2 billion-market cap Tokyo based recipe network which was founded in 1997 by Akimitsu Sano and Yoshiteru Akita is the current CEO. Cucumbertown co-founder Cherian Thomas says that, “For Cookpad, India represents a market and culture that is rich in culinary heritage. Not only is it place where people cook almost every single day, but it’s an untapped market for cooking related content that needs to be available online for people to consume.” Cookpad’s strong revenue line in the Japanese market is a reflection of this, where like in India cooking is more than survival, it’s an art that is a strong part of the culture. India is one of the very few cultures where cooking is still mainstream and passionately followed and the founders of the firms believe that Indian cookbooks, recipes and ingredients have always remained an obsession and mystery for other cultures. Cucumbertown and Cookpad will work to put this on the global culinary map.
Talking of the journey, Cherian says, “During the course of the past two and a half years, Cucumbertown grew from a simple recipe-sharing network to a food blogging platform reaching out to 160+ countries and millions of users. Users on Cucumbertown can now host their food blogs (instances: Indugetscooking, Tastychao).” During the course of their growth, the team at Cucumbertown realized that the portal was the best pedestal for cooks to start publishing but eventually when they realized how good they were, they moved on to start their own food blogs. That’s when they saw a gap in the market and decided to launch a food blogging platform, dedicated to the needs of the growing mass of food bloggers.
“Users can now customize their food blogs with themes and custom domains. As a platform Cucumbertown plans to take these blogs to monetization and pass on revenue to the users, much like the YouTube creator model,” says Arun Prabhakar, co-founder of Cucumbertown.
Food blogging is becoming a lucrative source of livelihood but is still fragmented and the blogger needs to understand too many intricacies of monetization to earn something substantial. “We hope to change that, and make it an even playing field for anyone who wants to be a food blogger. The first step towards this was the release of the RecipeWriter, an editor focused on just food blogging,” says Cherian.
Cookpad from its side is expanding to various geographies and acquiring properties and expanding them with their expertise in recipes vertical and monetization. This acquisition will enable Cucumbertown to scale to international markets and monetize. The India team will continue to expand rapidly with focus on design, engineering and data analytics talent. This is a truly global story of founders working out remotely from the US, Switzerland and India got acquired by a Japanese behemoth out of Palo Alto.