Chicago is a town that’s had its fair share of food fights. From food trucks to school lunches, there’s always something to debate. But alongside such arguments is the undeniable fact that Chicago is a great food city, a fact underlined by its being the home to such companies as GrubHub and Food Genius. The latter, a graduate of the 2011 Excelerate Labs class, raised $1.2 million in venture capital this week.
The investment was led by Hyde Park Venture Partners and Hyde Park Angels, according to Crain’s. Additional investors include New World Ventures, I2A Fund, Amicus Capital and IDEO.
“The funding is specifically to bring Food Genius Reports to market; we've expanded the team, accelerated our development process, and are gearing up for a marketing campaign,” says founder and CEO Justin Massa. “It feels great to have the resources we need as we step into the next phase of the business.”
Food Genius is “big data for the food industry,” according to Massa. By tracking restaurants, menus and consumer behavior, the company is able to provide insights that can guide action in the food industry. “Our data is the perfect platform for developing new concepts, identifying emerging trends, forecasting demand, and crafting marketing plans,” Massa says.
Food Genius Reports are the company’s signature product, which they intend to roll out in the new year. The reports provide data that Food Genius has collected, normalized, and presented to customers who can access menu trends that can be broken down and examined in “millions of ways.”
For the next three months, Massa and his team are focused on execution–of product development and alpha client relationships. Beyond that, the focus will shift to building the sales pipeline and refining the sales cycle.
In addition to the funding news, Food Genius also announced partnerships with CHD Expert and GrubHub. Massa explains:
CHD Expert is a sales partner; we've worked with them to develop a sophisticated lead targeting product that they have just started selling; it empowers foodservice sales teams to target based on menu attributes rather than broad restaurant categories. Our partnership with GrubHub is different; in exchange for their best-in-class menu data, we're helping them think through how they can best leverage their data.
As the food industry shifts and grows, data will play a bigger and bigger role. That’s why Food Genius Reports may be one step closer to bridging the gap between our stomachs and our minds.