Sophia Rascoff and her father, Zillow co-founder and former CEO Spencer Rascoff, like to take on new dishes in the family kitchen, even though the 16-year-old says they don’t have extensive cooking experience and don’t they are amazing chefs.
“We just have fun and do our best,” Sophia said.
But when it comes to a new social media app that the two of you have created together, the necessary ingredients are there: Spencer Rascoff has years of startup experience, Sophia had a vision, and the venture is a very serious endeavor.
Launch of the Rascoffs Recon food came out of beta on Tuesday, a free social app aimed at uniting people around a shared love of food.
Many people use well-established platforms like Instagram to post images of what they are cooking at home or what they are eating at a restaurant. Recon is a place for both, where foodies can share what they like to eat and check out places to do just that. It’s also Sophia’s way of turning people away from negativity and politics that can overwhelm social media users and instead connect with friends over shared interests.
Rascoff, co-founder of startups like Hotwire, Zillow, dot.LA and Pacaso, has the opportunity to create something new with his daughter. He said that six months of development has been a fantastic experience so far, and that Sophia is the perfect co-founder of Recon because she lives and breathes social media, loves to cook, and is a software engineer.
“I’ve always believed in bringing people with different points of view to the table when tackling big issues, but I don’t think I’ve realized the value of age diversity in a founding team,” Rascoff said. “As a teenager, you see the world and social media through a different lens. That, combined with her entrepreneurial spirit and drive, has made her a great partner and co-founder. “
Living in the same house in Los Angeles also helps with 24×7 collaboration.
Sophia said she has always admired her father’s work ethic, but “never got a chance to look behind the curtain completely to see how it all happens.” She added that while it’s fun working together, Recon Food is “very real” and both she and her father want it to be a success story just like their previous companies.
PREVIOUSLY: Q&A with former Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff about his new $ 350 million SPAC
Recon Food offers users two clues on their profile: their kitchen, as a place for images of all the food they prepare, and their restaurant reviews, for photos of food they ate out. The app uses computer vision technology to search a user’s camera roll for all food-centric photos taken in the past and automatically upload them to the app. Users can choose which photos they would like to show on their private account to their connections, or to the public. Restaurant photos can be rated, reviewed, and geotagged with the location of the restaurant.
Rascoff said that during the pandemic quarantine, her family spent a lot of time together and Sophia offered information during that period about how exhausting and divisive social media had become.
“At the same time, we were cooking a lot as a family, stuck at home experimenting with new types of food, recipes, and getting take-out from restaurants we’ve never tried before,” Rascoff said. “It was a foodie adventure that we wanted to share with friends, but we didn’t want to bombard everyone with our posts and updates.”
Creating a vertical social media app around food removed the pressure of deciding where and how often to share food photos, and provides a destination for those who crave community.
“At Recon Food you can list 100% of your food with less pressure for perfection,” said Sophia. “It doesn’t need to look pretty or have the best presentation. In fact, some of the funniest posts are food glitches, like my dad’s first attempt at wood-fired pizza. “
Rascoff, who left his job as CEO of the Zillow Group in January 2019, is certainly still busy with business that happens outside of the kitchen from home. His SPAC, which does business under the name Supernova Partners Acquisition Company, spearheaded an agreement to acquire the Offerpad real estate company in March. But Rascaoff said that at this stage in his career he focuses more on mentoring and coaching, and not running a day-to-day business.
He called the partnership with his daughter a perfect fit.
“My key advice to all founders is to try to solve a problem that you personally experience,” he said. “I am excited to have launched Recon Food publicly and let the world see what we have been preparing.”