Zomato Buys Urbanspoon

Last September, after meeting with the local Operations Manager of Zomato, I “yawped about Yelp“, stating why Yelp irritates me and that Urbanspoon suits me better.

The post Meet Zomato, Your New Restaurant Review Source that I published in late October ended with,

Check out Zomato. I don’t know if it will be the Yelp and Urbanspoon killer, but it’s got some neat features. Sign up and see what you think.

It just killed Urbanspoon. Sort of. Instead of p0wn-ing Urbanspoon, Zomato now owns it.

Last week I was skimming the daily news recap from Marketing Land when I read the headline, Zomato Buys Urbanspoon For $50 – $60 Million To Enter US Local Search Market.

Urbanspoon content will be incorporated into Zomato and the Urbanspoon brand will go away after a short transition period. Zomato hopes to launch its new, integrated app in North America in March.

(Since when is Canada not part of North America? It’s already launched here, but anyway….)

It’s India-based Zomato’s 4th acquisition in 4 months. It wasn’t planned but the opportunity came up. When opportunity knocks, you’ve got to answer the door.

Mashable’s article about the acquisition says,

Urbanspoon was one of the early breakthrough hits on the iPhone, thanks to some early promotion from Apple and the novelty of shaking your phone to pull up random restaurant suggestions in the app.

The first time I saw the “shake” function I thought it was so cool. It was like a slot machine except that the symbols weren’t supposed to match.

A Forbes article about the acquisition notes,

…the $50 million acquisition of US-based Urbanspoon, made by Sequoia Capital-backed Zomato, is not a small deal. It is considered one of the biggest overseas deals made by an Indian startup.

This is very cool. So is the information in that piece about Zomato’s impact on female restaurateurs in India.

Urbanspoon’s announcement states,

Some of our readers may not be familiar with Zomato because although Zomato is available in over 20 countries, previously we only overlapped in New Zealand, the UK, and Toronto. By joining forces, Zomato will now be present in 22 countries, list over 1 million restaurants, and have 95 thousand reviewers.

So it doesn’t matter if you say “ZomAYto” or “ZomAHto”. Now it’s down to Zomato and Yelp, and I don’t consider them in competition with each other because Yelp was founded to connect people to great local businesses of all sorts while Zomato is only about restaurants.

Infographic from Zomato’s announcement:

Zomato-Urbanspoon-infographic

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