Startup Yummly is Cooking with $1.85M in Funding for its Semantic Food Search Technology from Intel, Harrison Metal

In June, I wrote about the food search site Yummly, which had raised some seed funding and was looking to close a larger round.

Today, the company, which came out of private beta testing in June, announced that it closed on a $1.85 million seed stage round from Harrison Metal Capital (which led the funding), Intel Capital, First Round Capital and a host of angel investors, including Marcia Hooper, who has joined the board with Michael Dearing of Harrison Metal.

“We’re going to use the funding to keep doing what we’re doing, which is to connect food and people together,” says founder and CEO Dave Feller (pictured), who previously worked in executive roles at Half.com, StumbleUpon and eBay.

Feller said that Yummly, which he founded in 2009, has six employees, and he expects to hire three to four more over the next six months. The site currently has about 500,000 members, including myself, who subscribe to its content. Among the new features recently released, Yummly allows users to create and save their own recipes and menus and search for recipes based on holidays, a feature that Feller says he will use to salt a turkey for Thanksgiving.

Yummly is not just a food-oriented social networking site. In addition to providing a means for food lovers to interact, Yummly also operates as a semantic recipe search platform that can help people find and discover recipes. “We’re like the Pandora and Google for food,” Feller says.

So is it a food company or a search company?

“We do a little bit of all of that,” Feller says. “We’re definitely a search and discovery company, but we’re doing that with food.”

Although there are some companies that have turned food dishes into art, such as Foodspotting, and I’ve noticed a number of mobile apps that can track what your friends are eating or drinking, as in the case of Beerby, by and large it seems that the food vertical has been overlooked, except by the Food Network and a few other large media players.

It will be interesting to see if Yummly and the online food experience can continue to resonate and grow as a social networking site.