Who still uses cookbooks? Apparently, very few. More and more people are choosing to find their culinary inspiration online and cook with an eye on a computer screen or tablet. One company riding this wave is Kinetic Art, maker of the Look & Cook platform.
"Look & Cook is a platform for culinary content that suits the way people use recipes," says founder and co-CEO of the firm, Oran Huberman. "When you watch a show with Martha Stewart cooking a dish, you don't actually see much. You as a viewer can't know what kind of mixer she used, you don't see the list of ingredients, nor can you file the television program for later use. Our platform enables all of that."
The recipes are visual, combining text, pictures and video, he says. "They're constructed step by step, so you can take your iPad to the kitchen with you and cook with it."
Look & Cook goes with the trend of cooking programs dominating prime time television these days. "Cooking shows aren't expensive to produce and people are crazy about them. But content gets lost. The program is aired once, and then there's a repeat broadcast, and that's it. We give the programs and the recipes a new life, with a model for revenues," says Huberman.
Here we come to the app's unique model. The company signs specific agreements with premium content groups: chefs, cooking programs and other players in the food world.
"The first content we uploaded to our app is a cookbook by chef Meir Adoni, a book that we produced," says Huberman. "Recently we signed with James Beard, one of the most important culinary institutions in the world, and we'll be uploading recipes in cooperation with 20 of the greatest chefs in America. We have other books that have been produced and are ready, but we aren't releasing them yet."
And where is the money in it? Recipes are free, both on the Internet and on television. The business model is based on the sale of products via Amazon.
"If while cooking, you want to purchase any equipment connected to the recipe, you can do so by pressing on a button, straight from the app. And it's not only cooking equipment. Recently Amazon entered the field of fresh raw ingredients in what is called amazonfresh. The person using the app presses 'buy all,' and Amazon sends all the ingredients for the recipe by the next morning. We're working very closely with Amazon. It's important to me to say that we don't just push products, but offer things that the customer is really looking for as part of the cooking process."
Lock & Cook is available on tablets and smartphones, iPhones and Androids, and on Amazon's Kindle tablet. Just recently the company announced another cooperative venture with Amazon, Fire TV (a streamer that turns every television into a smart television that can bring content from the Internet), and the cooking app is a built-in part of the new product.
"We appear on the built-in menu together with Fire on YouTube, Netflix and Holo. That is dramatic news for us and a distribution channel that can reach millions of users," says Huberman.
Kinetic Art was started in early 2013. Huberman himself came from journalism, and before starting the company was the editor of the weekend supplement of the financial newspaper Calcalist. The company has 10 employees and has raised several hundreds of thousands of dollars from two angels, one of them serial entrepreneur and investor Dov Moran. The company is presently involved raising several million dollars.
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