Ladies and gentlemen, start your mixers!
Trying to tap the growing popularity of live video streaming and online food communities, YouTube cofounder Steve Chen has unveiled Nom.
With backing by Gangnam Style’s PSY and Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto, the service lets professional and amateur chefs and foodies create their own food-related livestreaming channels in much the way Twitch has enabled video gamers to broadcast themselves.
Chen is cofounder and chief technical officer of NOM. Vijay Karunamurthy, who was formerly an engineering lead for YouTube, is chief executive officer.
“Nom is a place for food lovers,” Chen said in a press release. “If you’ve ever snapped a picture of your dinner, Nom is for you. If you have a food blog and want to connect with a bigger audience, Nom is for you. If a restaurant kitchen is your office, Nom is for you.”
Users will be able to broadcast from a desktop or mobile device. Chen imagines people using it to do everything from hosting their own cooking shows to replacing those Instagram shots of the food they ordered at a restaurant with a livestream of them eating the meal.
Like Twitch, the service will be interactive, allowing the audience to chat with the host and ask questions.
“Collaboration is key for us at Nom,” said Karunamurthy in the press release. “We worked with an incredible group of chefs, makers, and creators to build the site and app they would want to reach an audience live. Now any creative team can produce their own show. We’re seeing people use Nom for coffee tastings, cooking demos, and live coverage of popup experiences.”
Of course, to some degree you can do this already with Periscope or Meerkat on mobile devices (though not so easily on desktop). But NOM will offer richer interactive options, such as the ability for viewers to share GIFs, videos, and photos with hosts. At the same time, hosts will be able to use multiple cameras to broadcast their show.
In general, the founders of NOM are hoping that having a community built around food will create a more robust livestreaming experience.
And to seed that, they’ve recruited a host of well-known names in cooking, including 3-star Michelin chef Corey Lee (who is also an investor); master sommelier Yoon Ha of Benu in San Francisco; pastry chef Joanne Chang; Tim Hollingsworth of Otium in downtown Los Angeles, Hubert Keller in Las Vegas; and Michael Tusk of Quince in San Francisco.
Nom will also broadcast online foodie events, like the annual announcement of the 2016 James Beard Award Nominees, on their NOM channel.
The new company has raised $4.7 million in Series A funding from Blue Run Ventures, WI Harper Group, Khosla Ventures, and SV Angel, in addition to PSY and Leto.