Foodspotting, a startup that wants users to share photos and recommendations of their favorite foods, just announced that its mobile applications have been downloaded 1 million times. But co-founder and CEO Alexa Andrzejewski said she has big ambitions for expanding and broadening the user base even further.
The company took a step in that direction this week, she said, by adding new social features. Until now, the mobile interface was built around searching for foods, while the website also included the ability to "follow" people, places, and foods. Not surprisingly, following someone or being followed made users more likely to come back, so Foodspotting is making that ability available across all of its apps.
At the same time, Andrzejewski said she doesn't just want to be "Instagram for food" or "Facebook for food"—in other words, the site shouldn't just be for foodies who want to share photos of of their favorite dishes. Instead it should appeal to anyone looking for something tasty to eat. That's why there are plans for an even bigger redesign, which Andrzejewski said will present a more "Pandora-like interface" for food recommendations.
She also described Foodspotting as part of a larger trend, where people leave a trail of data wherever they go. An obvious example of this is Foursquare, where people create that trail by checking-in to different locations, but it applies to Foodspotting too, especially in its new, more social iteration. (LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman has said that social data is will be the next big trend on the Web.)
"I love the idea of the mobile device as a lens that lets you see the history of a place and what your recommendations are," Andrzejewski said.
As for making money, she said Foodspotting is still in the stage of "testing hypotheses" and is more focused on growth than revenue. Nonetheless, the company will be launching a new feature for potential monetization soon—the ability for users to see specials at nearby restaurants.