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Food Genius snares $1.2 million VC investment


Food Genius, a Chicago startup that analyzes restaurant menu data to predict food-industry trends, will announce this week it has raised $1.2 million in venture capital.

The lead investors are Hyde Park Venture Partners and Hyde Park Angels; others include New World Ventures, the I2A Fund, Amicus Capital and product-development firm IDEO, where Food Genius was a startup in residence. Food Genius was also part of the 2011 class at Chicago accelerator Excelerate Labs.

Food Genius plans to release its signature product in January: Food Genius Reports, a food-trends dashboard that allows users to search for and analyze menu-level industry trends. Food Genius is also announcing two data partnerships, with CHD Expert and GrubHub. Both deals will provide Food Genius with access to data on restaurant menu data; Food Genius’ database includes 260,000 menus, more than half of all U.S. menus.

Justin Massa, Food Genius’ founder and CEO, tells Silicon City about the investment and Food Genius Reports.

Describe your new flagship product, Food Genius Reports. How does it work?

Justin Massa: Food Genius Reports is designed to help you figure out what to make, how to package it, how to market it, where [it is likely to be popular], how much should you charge for it, all that stuff. It takes you from the beginning point of the creative process, where you’re deciding what to make, to the end, where you’re looking for the right price point and the words you should use to describe it…

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