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Tokyo-based online recipe network, Cookpad has acquired Indian online recipe sharing startup Cucumbertown. The said acquisition will enable Cucumbertown to expands its reach to international markets as well as monetization of the platform and pass on revenue to the users, much like the YouTube creator model. The service is being rolled out to select bloggers, and the numbers are growing gradually. Users can now customize their food blogs with themes and custom domains.

Cucumbertown was launched in October 2012 and raised $300K in seed capital from a few angel investors which was followed by an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from Helion Venture Partners and Ludlow Ventures.

The details of the deal have not been made public but it has been made clear that Bangalore and US based Cucumbertown will remain an independent subsidiary under Cookpad. On this deal Cucumbertown’s co-founder Cherian Thomas said, “ Food blogging is a highly lucrative source of livelihood. But at the moment, it’s very fragmented and the blogger needs to understand too many intricacies of monetisation to earn something substantial. We hope to change that and make it a level-playing field for anyone who wants to be a food blogger. The first step towards this was the release of the RecipeWriter — a editor focussed on just food blogging”.

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Since its inception 2.5 years back, Cucumbertown has grown from a recipe-sharing website to a food blogging platform having a reach to more than 160 countries.

For cookpad it accounts for its expanding strategy to various geographies and acquiring properties and expanding them with their expertise in recipes vertical and monetization. Post-acquisition, Cucumbertown’s India team will continue to expand rapidly with focus on design, engineering and data analytics talent.

Cookpad is a 2 Bn-market cap Tokyo based recipe network which was founded in 1997 by Akimitsu Sano and Yoshiteru Akita is the current CEO.The site allows users to upload and search through user-created recipes. The company claims that it has a total of 50Mn users and more than 2Mn registered recipes.

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.

On a concluding note,Thomas said, “India is one of the very few cultures where cooking is still mainstream and passionately followed. 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.”

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