It started with a cold email and ended with an acquisition.
Kitchenbowl co-founder Ryan Waliany told GeekWire that he sent a cold email to ABC Cooking nearly one year ago about a potential licensing partnership to power one of their new cooking school concepts that leverages Kitchenbowl’s GIF-recipe format.
Waliany, who started Kitchenbowl with his wife Serena Wu, said that his 7-person company ultimately “could no longer see a clear path to a high-growth technology venture.” The app had nice year-over-year user growth, but the speed was slower than anticipated. The co-founders felt that an acquisition was the best path forward, despite access to additional capital.
“Our vision was to make cooking easier and more accessible to everyone,” Waliany said. “While we were unable to do that as a stand-alone company, I believe Eiko and the ABC Cooking team will be able to carry this forward with a similar mission.”
ABC Cooking will integrate Kitchenbowl’s video technology into its cooking studio expereince that combines self-guided instruction with hands-on teaching.
“The acquisition enhances ABC Cooking Studio’s unique ability to offer differentiated learning experiences, both in-studio and online,” Eiko Okamoto, COO of ABC Cooking, said in a statement. “As we continue to grow our footprint globally, our members are becoming more diverse and web focused. This acquisition will help drive our vision of connecting our global members online and creating a community of home cooks all over the world.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Waliany and two Kitchenbowl engineers are headed to Uber; Wu has joined Instacart.
Kitchenbowl, which re-located from San Francisco to Seattle in 2014, raised a $1.3 million seed round in 2015 from investors like Hand of God Wines founder Jon Staenberg, Beecher’s Cheese owner Kurt Dammeier, former AllRecipes CEO Bill Moore, ModPizza CEO Scott Svenson, and others.
The company inked partnerships with Seattle-based celebrity chefs like Tom Douglas and Ethan Stowell as contributors to its recipe platform, which differentiated from other recipe apps by concentrating on high-quality photos that show users how to cook a meal from their mobile device, rather than relying on word-heavy blogs.
This past May, Kitchenbowl debuted Fork It, an app that encouraged users to cook at home and track their food with simple check-ins.