Locu, Formerly Goodplates, Raises Seed Funding to Pursue Online Menu Platform

Locu, a Cambridge, MA-based Web startup, is closing its round of seed funding, with TechCrunch pegging the amount at $623,000.

“We ended up getting a really diverse group of investors, both East Coast and West Coast,” CEO Rene Reinsberg tells me. That includes Boston angel investor and HubSpot founder Dharmesh Shah (also an investor in Xconomy), as well as Factual CEO Gil Elbaz, Cloudera founder and chief scientist Jeff Hammerbacher, and Google engineering manager Bruno Bowden on the West Coast. Reinsberg says the startup, whose founding team is largely techies, used AngelList to find many of its seed investors.

Locu got its start under the name Goodplates and was previously developing an app that allowed consumers to share and rate specific dishes they’ve eaten at restaurants. It’s no longer focusing on that technology, but is now working to launch a new app called MenuPlatform, designed to help restaurants better manage their menu content on the Web.

The Locu founding team met at an MIT graduate class called Linked Data Ventures, taught by Tim Berners-Lee and designed to foster practical applications of linked data technologies. Locu’s website says the company aims to create “the world’s largest semantically annotated repository of real-time small-business data.”

“Goodplates ended up winning the class competition, but MenuPlatform is much closer to the heart of the linked data, semantic Web world than the consumer app was,” says Reinsberg.

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