Burpple, a mobile photo sharing service for food lovers, has announced that it has eaten up $500,000 in seed-stage funding, led by Singapore’s Neoteny Labs, which will be used to beef up its team, grow its userbase and expand to new platforms. China-based QuestVC has also invested, bringing key strategic support in the country.
MIT Director Joi Ito is general partner at early-stage specialist Neoteny Labs. The firm runs a $5 million fund and has made 24 investments across Asia, Europe and the US since May 2010. QuestVC is led by James Tan, a Singaporean who founded 55Tuan, one of China’s top daily deals sites.
Currently available for iOS devices only, Burpple is a foodie’s equivalent to Instagram. The premise is really very simple, save and share food memories through photos and geo-location. Burpple recently expanded the service to boost discovery with new Foursquare like friend- and restaurant-finding features, and it is evident that the founding trio have further plans.
Co-founder Dixon Chan explains that new hires and bringing the service to new platforms (he says an Android app will come in “early 2013″) are its immediate priorities:
“The seed funding will empower Burpple to accelerate the building of a world-class product team and scale the growth opportunities across a variety of markets and platforms on the mobile and on the web. We have some groundbreaking stuff in the pipeline that will change the way people experience food throughout the world.”
More specifically, Chan says Burpple has hired three new staff — in engineering, community and design — to take its team to eight, while it has rolled out a new Web sharing page that desktop users are led to when viewing items on the service.
The combination of food, social networking and photos has helped Burpple make impressive progress since launching in May. Just last month, the company revealed that its user base has posted 150,000 ‘food moments’ – photos that are accompanied by a title, comment and location — to date. The app has been used in more than 3,300 cities across 115 countries, with Asia unsurprisingly the strongest market.
That traction impressed Neotyne’s James Chan, who says:
“Food and meals are an integral part of our daily routine. The individual’s relationship with the dishes he or she has eaten or would like to try remains a white space that hasn’t been properly addressed by any service or app. I’ve watched the Burpple team go from strength to strength as they translated their initial idea into execution, and am proud to be both an avid foodie user and an investor.”
In addition to adding a feature that lets users post to Burpple from Instagram, the app has been localized into Chinese and Japanese. China, in particular, is a huge focus for the team and the additional of QuestVC is sure to usher in a renewed push in the country — which has already seen popular services WeChat and Sina Weibo integrated.
Indeed, part of that focus saw Burpple enter the startup competition at Open Web Asia 2012, an event held in held in Haikou, China. The service ranked in the top ten, seeing off stiff competition from more than 100 other entrants.
You can grab Burpple for iOS at the link below. If you’re an Android user, you can register here for an alert when the upcoming app is ready.
Top image via Fabio Berti / Shutterstock