Gastronome guide Urbanspoon is being gobbled up by Zomato, a startup from India which may be one of the most successful websites American foodies have never heard about.
With an Alexa rank just under the world's top 1,000 websites, the New Delhi company, which provides hungry online users with information on nearby restaurants, reviews, preview menus, recommendations and images of eateries, has been primarily focused abroad, spreading through Europe, South America, Southeast Asia, South Asia and South Africa.
The acquisition of Urbanspoon will help Zomato move into the U.S., where it will compete against sites like Yelp and Foursquare, as well as stamp its footprint in Australia and Canada.
Zomato provides users with an app, blog and website relating to all things food. Users can browse Zomato's regional guides, check into venues, network with others and share details about dining experiences.
As the services offered by Urbanspoon and its new parent are so much alike, Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal says his company will ultimately stick with site features it believes work the best to provide users all they need for choosing a dining experience.
"We will evaluate the best features of both our products and then over the next three months we will ship the combined product out to markets like the U.S., Canada and Australia," Goyal told Tech Times. "The traffic will migrate from the Urbanspoon app website to the Zomato app and website over the next three months."
The buyout of Urbanspoon marks Zomato's sixth acquisition in as many months, but the thirsty startup isn't focusing all of its investments on horizontal growth. Zomato plans to pour $20 million in to its European holdings, fattening its staff there from just shy of 40 to more than 100 employees in an effort to put more boots on the ground and boost site content. The acquisition price wasn't announced, but some sources report a sale price between $50 million to $60 million
Not quite seven years old, Zomato has had to work between a year and a year and a half to gain critical mass and has expanded organically, Goyal says. Acquisitions have helped trim the prep and cook time, enabling Zomato to serve customers much quicker.
"Acquisitions give us a good head start in the countries where we acquire a market leader," says Goyal. "This acquisition has given us a great team, local knowledge, fan following, consumer loyalty as well as traffic. While there is a lot of work to do in the U.S., we are confident that we will be able to win the market quickly."
The Zomato app is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.