Fellow Swedish entrepreneur Johan Attby recently contributed an article to PandoDaily in which he argued that “the time is ripe for a new wave of niche social networks”. Well, today we can add another company to the growing list of niche social networks coming out of Sweden. VeggieFocus is an online community with a vision to become the “go to platform for hungry vegetarians/vegans whether they want to eat our or eat in”. In order to reach this vision, the team are focusing on building both a restaurant discovery platform – and a recipe aggregator or sorts.
VeggieFocus was founded by Sofia von Porat and Nathan Schachereplans. They generate most of its revenue from primarily two kinds of advertising: local advertising from businesses that want to be featured on VeggieFocus, and highly targeted location and content-based advertising for users. Currently, the company is bootstrapped and is yet to take any external financing. During 2013, the team actually sold several profitable websites which allowed them to fund the development of this project.
Happycow.net is the most established competitor in the space, which has been around since 1999 – however it’s worth noting that they only focus on the restaurant data aspects. The VeggieFocus team tell me that HappyCow’s innovation rates have slowed over the years, allowing room for a new player in the space.
VeggieFocus is an interesting one – on the one hand, it’s a big niche but on the other hand – there are plenty of incumbents within the restaurant space (Yelp, OpenTable etc) who already have a large database of global restaurants and most offer a “Vegetarian” filter option. We’ll have to keep an eye on VeggieFocus during 2014.