Bootstrapping sensation BigOven today is announcing that it has recorded more than eight million downloads of its recipe finder app across iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Nook and Kindle Fire. Not bad for a company that’s been bootstrapped from its earliest days by entrepreneur Steve Murch.

In addition to announcing the new app milestone, BigOven also is making its Grocery List and Menu Planner services free. Those services had previously been part of the company’s $20 annual premium subscription plan.

Steve Murch

“We have found them to be very popular with cooks and advertisers alike, and are now opening them up to all customers,” said Murch of the decision to make them free.

“By making these features free, it allows us to reach a much wider base of home cooks with great services that span the cooking lifecycle from recipe discovery through planning and shopping,” he said.

In addition, the company said that it is now rolling out Facebook integration, allowing cooks to view the recipes added and favorited by Facebook friends.

BigOven, which boasts more than 400,000 recipes and 1.8 million registered users, will continue to offer its premium service.

That includes an ad-free experience, access to private notes on recipes and 25 credits for the company’s RecipeScan service, an automated tool that turns handwritten recipes into digital copies.

Steve Murch’s talk from GeekWire’s Startup DayBootstrapping a startup: Less cash, more cowbell

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  • Guest

    8 million unique installs? It is very common for companies to quote installs, but every update generates a new install, so this statistic is not particularly meaningful. 8 million “unique” installs or “device” installs is more relevant. I wild humbly suggest that you ask probe a little deeper when people quote these numbers.

    • johnhcook

      Thanks for the comment. I did get that info from Steve Murch, but just didn’t include it here. Here you go, diirectly from BigOven’s Murch: “That’s new installs, not including upgrades.”

      • Steve Murch

        Thanks John, I can confirm that here — 8+ million downloads, i.e., of course not counting extra when someone upgrades.

        That number is across all our supported mobile app platforms — iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android, Android Tablet, Windows Phone, Kindle Fire and NOOK.

  • hinduf

    They are really pushy with the upgrades. This morning, I reached 25 recipes. Now I can’t edit or delete any of my stuff or add anymore recipes. My account is basically blocked if I don’t upgrade. I wouldn’t mind paying a fixed price to uprade if there was a way to export your data. With this app, you are signing to pay 2$/month for life or until you decide to quit and loose all your work. I quit.

    • Steve Murch

      BigOven’s multiple servers that power the recipe cloud (which allows your recipes, grocery list and menus to sync across mobile and tablet devices as well as the web) cost tens of thousands of dollars monthly, and that doesn’t even include the cost for developing, supporting and marketing new features. A fixed price simply doesn’t work in a model where the costs are recurring (and potentially infinite.) Those companies that are using a fixed-price against recurring-cost are, we think, making a big long-term mistake.

      Pro membership, which is optional, removes all advertisement and unlocks a bunch of additional features (including unlimited recipe posting), and it’s just $0.05 per day. We think that’s a bargain, especially compared with some competitive offerings. If you choose not to upgrade, we hope you continue as a free member — the apps are completely free, and with them, you can search over 400,000 recipes, add ratings, photos and more. Happy cooking!

  • Amy Everpean

    I am a totally organized person and like to keep track of my groceries with a list.I recently found a website, which has been the best way ever to keep track of all my groceries i need!

  • Steve Livesley

    I’ve just started using this service and have successfully imported a recipe from Allrecipes. I found this site because I was searching to see if there was any way to organise my shopping list by aisle (for my local supermarket). I’m considering upgrading but not if I don’t have this feature.

  • Sonya

    I cannot rave enough about BigOven. It has changed my life! It makes cooking 1000 times easier. Also, it seems to be flexible enough to benefit just about any type of cook.

    I am personally a gourmet-style cook, meaning that most of the recipes I use have tons of ingredients, and I am also not (yet) an intuitive cook, meaning that I do have to follow the recipe most of the time and am not good at guessing what will taste good together. It is really flexible; if you are the opposite and just need ideas, they have ingredient searching features that automatically show you all the recipes in their database with that ingredient, similar to I’ve slowly been hand-entering my recipes into the application, and alternatively you can upload them (free) from websites or for 59 cents each (first 25 free for Pro members) you can scan recipes. I use my home computer, but they have every other electronic interface known to man).

    Once I’ve entered a recipe, what I LOVE LOVE LOVE is the grocery list and menu planner feature. With the click of a button, you can halve or double or triple (or any fraction) any recipe and have it correlate to your grocery list! And you know how you can plan out a meal, but things always change at the last minute, and maybe you’ll do part of the meal one night, but skip one of the side dishes, or something like that? No more going back to the cookbooks to edit your menu plan or your grocery list over and over again! BigOven is really easy to work with; you just “move” the recipe to another night, and can easily “delete” a recipe from your shopping list, and all of the ingredients that were associated with that recipe go away! There’s also a “try soon” recipe list you can add to. You can change your mind about what to cook and when, all the time WITH NO HASSLE. When you’re done planning, you can either easily print out your menu plan and grocery list (which also contains a list of all the recipes you chose at the bottom of it), or you can use your smartphone at the store to pull up your shopping list. You can even check off each thing as you find it in the store! I don’t have a smartphone, so I just print the list. And when I lost it a few times, I was able to call my husband who pulled up my shopping list at home on our computer – pretty cool :)

    Being a bit OCPD, I also love the search engine. I can type in ANY ingredient or even just a phrase, and it will show me all of the recipes that contain that ingredient or that word! I can choose to search in either from the recipes I’ve entered or from their huge database. Whether I’m wanting to take advantage of what’s on sale at my grocery store, or use up an ambiguous ingredient that’s been sitting in my pantry too long, or find out all 100 recipes I own that contain sour cream so I can use up the tub before it expires, BigOven saves the day! It’s also SUPER easy to search either your own or their database’s recipes for, say, Vegetarian meals, or all of your recipes with a “Mediterranean” or “Latin” theme, for example. Need to make rolls for dinner? Type in the word “rolls”, and you can either see all of your own personal roll recipes, or uncheck a box and see all of the rolls in the database (including your recipes). Want to exclude an ingredient? You can do that too. Want to find all the recipes in your collection (or their database) that contain celery, onions, AND carrots, but NOT chicken broth? Easy peasy :)

    The only inconvenient feature is having to enter your own recipes if you want to use the app with them. I personally just enter the ingredient list of each recipe, and then use the actual cookbook when I’m cooking. The plus side to entering your own recipes is that you get really familiar with your cookbook, and you get ideas and cravings for dinner :) Downside is the time, obviously, but if many of your recipes are online, it is free and easy to upload them in a few clicks. Also if you want you can scan them which honestly sounds faster; I am just really frugal so I’m entering mine by hand.


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