FRANCE-GASTRONOMY
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Goldman Sachs Backs Food And Travel Video Network For Millennials

Dec 17, 2015

Goldman Sachs (gs) is betting on Tastemade, a fast-growing food and travel video network for millennials, with a $40 million investment. The funding also included existing investors Redpoint Ventures, Raine Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Liberty Media, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Tohokushinsha Film Corporation.

Founded in 2012, Tastemade was the brainchild of the three former employees at content farm Demand Media. The startup originally began as a YouTube network for food, travel, and cooking shows, and marketed itself as a modern-day online Food Network. But instead of established celebrity chefs, Tastemade's talent sways younger and more hipster.

In the past year, Tastemade has focused on bringing its videos to other fast-growing video platforms including Facebook, Apple TV, and Snapchat, said co-founder Larry Fitzgibbon. This year, Tastemade joined Facebook's Anthology network, which matches marketers with video content creators. Tastemade was also chosen by Facebook as an early partner to start testing ads within videos on the network. Fitzgibbon said that Facebook (fb) has been "huge" in the company's growth over the past year, and that it will continue to develop content specifically for the social network.

He added that Facebook has also been instrumental in expanding Tastemade's viewership overseas. In Brazil, Facebook is seeing several hundred million views of Tastemade's videos on Facebook monthly.

Tastemade now reaches over 100 million monthly active viewers across its network, and is seeing over 1 billion views monthly, including views from Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and other sites.

Although Facebook video is growing fast, YouTube is still a significant part of Tastemade's viewership, said Fitzgibbon. On YouTube, Tastemade has 86 million subscribers and sees 450 million views per month on the Google-owned (goog) video site. As of June, Facebook was seeing 359 million monthly views on Facebook.

Tastemade faces competition from Buzzfeed, which also produces food videos, female-focused media company PopSugar, and of course, the Food Network.

In terms of advertising, the company has also been able to draw large brands, especially for sponsored content. American Express paid more than $1 million to sponsor two series created around how-to videos, recipes, and “life hacks” and Grey Goose sponsored a series about cocktails called Local Flight.

The company also makes money from licensing content to TV networks, and just signed a deal with Scripps' Cooking Channel.

Fitzgibbon declined to reveal exact revenue, but said it is doubling year over year.

The new funding will be used to increase the company's sales and advertising teams and for further expansion to international markets. The company has raised $80 million to date.

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