Harvard Common Press Has Something New Baking in San Francisco

Harvard Common Press, a Boston-based publisher of cookbooks and parenting guidebooks, said today that it has opened a second office in San Francisco.

Why should startup entrepreneurs and other Xconomy readers care about that? Because the company also makes seed investments in food-tech startups—and it’s looking to make a lot more.

The 37-year-old firm, owned by Boston businessman Bruce Shaw, got its first taste of the food startup world with a 2010 investment in Yummly, the fast-growing recipe search site based in Palo Alto, CA. The company also contributed to Yummly’s $6 million Series A round last year, alongside big names like First Round Capital, Harrison Metal, Intel Capital, Physic Ventures, and Unilever Corporate Ventures.

Now it’s looking for more such opportunities. Associate publisher Adam Salomone, who will head the new office, says the move is meant to “tie us in ever more deeply to the food and tech ecosystem” on the West Coast.

“Our investment in Yummly has caused us to meet and network with many other food start-ups across the country and we’re finding more and more opportunities for strategic partnership, investment and business development through these relationships,” Salomone says. “Unsurprisingly, many of them happen to be out in San Francisco.”

The company is setting up a formal food-investing fund and has already made one other food-related investment in an undisclosed company, according to Salomone.

Harvard Common Press is the publisher of numerous books about food and cooking—including Gadgetology, a guide to kitchen experiments for parents and children—as well as books on parenting and childbirth. Three of its recent cookbooks have been nominated for the James Beard Awards, including Get Saucy by Grace Parisi, Perfect Party Food by Diane Phillip, and Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin.

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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