Digital food network Tastemade in Santa Monica raises $40 million

Tastemade, a Santa Monica-based digital network for food and travel videos, said Thursday that it closed a $40-million round of funding last week led by Goldman Sachs.

The investment will be used to hire more staff to propel the network’s expansion across nearly a dozen digital video platforms that it currently caters to, including Apple TV, Snapchat and Facebook.

Tastemade is particularly adept at reaching millennials. About 60% of its 100 million active monthly users are 18 to 34.

“We think the media landscape is changing,” co-founder Larry Fitzgibbon said. “Young consumers are spending more time on their devices. A media company like us is designed to reach those audiences with the right content and distribution.”

Fitzgibbon said Tastemade would also bolster its presence overseas. The company has found a strong market in Brazil, which commands about one-fifth of Tastemade’s monthly views.

“As video and mobile take center stage in the media business, Tastemade is incredibly well positioned to take full advantage of this global opportunity,” Mark Midle, an investor with Goldman Sachs and a member of Tastemade’s board of directors, said in a statement.

Tastemade was founded in 2012 and has been billed as the Food Network for the digital age. Its investors include Redpoint Ventures, Raine Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Liberty Media and Scripps Networks Interactive, which also owns the Food Network.

With the latest round of funding, the company has raised about $80 million in total. It has yet to make a profit and will need to scale up to capture more advertising revenue. Tastemade also needs to keep pace with changes in social media, being sure to include its videos on emerging distribution channels.

Tastemade partners with amateur food and travel video makers, largely off YouTube, and helps them grow audiences under the Tastemade umbrella. The company also develops original programming that resembles traditional, longer-form cooking and travel TV shows. Staff members edit those shows down to minutes or seconds to spread them on social media.

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