RecipeBook: A Beautiful Fusion of Food and Technology

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RecipeBook

Food has always been our first call! Agree with me? 

All of us, at one point, would have faced the struggle of entering the kitchen and making something eatable! Well, the same thing happened to three youngsters and find out where it has led them to. 

Anoop, Arun Ravi, Nikhil Dharman, the three flatmates didn’t know what they could cook with what they had on the kitchen shelf. Unfortunately, finding recipes based on ingredients was a difficult task at that point. Hence, the three went on to find a solution that became a winning idea. 

Starting as Agrima Infotech, they built a prototype called RecipeBook which is a simple reverse recipe discovery app where users upload images of food ingredients to get recipes and uploaded on the PlayStore in December 2015. Surprisingly, the startup hit the sweet spot with users and became India’s first startup to have won the Google Play editor’s choice award in 2016. Very soon they raised funding of $50K from investors. Recipe Book was among the top five Indian apps that made it to Google Play Store’s ‘Best of 2018’ list.

Today RecipeBook is a successful intelligent recipe discovery platform with over 4 million downloads and backed by a community of 25,000 home chefs. “We are adding 3,000 recipes to the platform each month,” says Anoop. 

But, what about the revenue model?

Well, initially the product was based on an aggregator model. Unfortunately, there is always a limit that could grow by partnering with bloggers. Joining the JioGenNext led to a game-changer of pivoting to a generator model. After getting into the accelerator program, JioGenNext connected them to different business units in Reliance which helped them run small PoCs with them. Anoop says, “We ran a small experiment to understand the feasibility of e-commerce affiliation within the app. That gave us insight into unit economics. We realized that the model would be difficult in India since the domestic retail sector runs on very low margins. Similarly, JioGenNext helped us explore different business models within the RecipeBook app, which gave a lot of learning and helped us streamline our future roadmap.”

Rebranding for Growth

India is a big market for RecipeBook with a small percentage of native global users and NRIs as well. The startup is planning on rebranding RecipeBook with a much more inclusive name “so that it can grow beyond just a recipe discovery and sharing platform.” Anoop, co-founder explains, “While most of it has so far revolved around partnerships with FMCG brands and e-commerce, we are also trying to figure out newer innovative methods for generating revenue from our user bases. Many of these different monetization models that we have experimented in the last two quarters will go live soon.”

Psyight

The team is considering separating the B2C and B2B businesses into two business units. This led to the emergence of Psyight, a dedicated computer vision platform for recognizing raw, cooked and packaged food items which could be used in a B2B space. “Data is one of the main components of the deep learning system. And, we already had that with users uploading over a million images on RecipeBook. We reused that data to train and build Psyight.” says the founder. 80 percent of their total revenue comes from this Computer Vision platform and the remaining 20 percent comes from RecipeBook. 

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