Have you been deciding to quit smoking? Joining the gym in a couple of days? Gearing up for some massive binge drinking so you can start being more responsible towards alcohol in a couple of days? That can only mean one thing. It’s time to welcome the new year, 2016! And as the Cuumbertown team gears up to 2016, we can’t help but look back at the rollercoaster ride that was 2015! So here’s a timeline of sorts of some special moments in this very special year for us.
Jan 2015: Cucumbertown becomes the world’s first exclusive food blogging platform!
Until the first month of 2015, CT was still very much a recipe network.The decision that it would become a food blogging platform was decided by the end of 2014, but it wasn’t until Indu Gets Cooking, the very first food blog came on board that Cucumbertown really became a food blogging platform. So Indu, big shout out to you for the trust in us!
Feb 2015: More Food Blogs Make Cucumbertown their Home
After the success of our first food blog it was serious business at the CT house. We reached out to some of our recipe network users who also had food blogs and the response was frankly overwhelming. We were looking at 5 new blogs and migration started for Priyadarshini Chatterjee’s All That’s Delicious/ Lets Talk Food.
March 2015: More to the list and talks of an acquisition
This month we saw more blogs join the CT family, including The Culinary Trail, My Eaterspot, The Turmeric Kitchen, Ladles and Spoons and many more. We also heard from Cherian that talks were on for a possible acquisition. Things were looking promising and we were moving way faster than we had anticipated in the end of 2014.
April 2015: A Potluck Party and The Family gets Bigger
If we had to choose a month from the entire year where things really took a dramatic turn for the positive, this month would be it. A really famous South Indian food blogger, Mareena Jerrish had decided to migrate her popular blog, Mareena’s Recipe Collections to Cucumbertown. Validations were pouring in and Cherian was in town for a short bit, so we wanted to celebrate with our foodie friends, of course. A potluck party seemed like the perfect way to do this and it certainly was!
May 2015: Wedding Season in Team Cucumbertown and a trip to Kerala
We are drifting away from work for this one, but sometimes you have to, right? Two of our most dedicated team members Basil and Aqeel got hitched around the end of April and the first week of May. And in typical CT fashion, that called for a road trip. A 7 hour drive to the picturesque town of Kumili took us to both a weekend getaway and Basil’s wedding. And as you can imagine, the rest of the month was spent talking about this trip and planning for more trips, that of course, still have not happened.
June 2015: An Acquisition and an Expanding Team
Perhaps the most power packed month of the year, June was when CT got the ultimate validation that we were heading in the right direction with news of acquisition by Japanese behemoth, Cookpad. And with this exciting news also came more members to our close knit team at CT. So that clearly meant our Humans page needed an update ;) Bhargavi and Subin joined the madness!
July 2015: My Food Story and The Flavours of Kitchen In and An Interview with Archana Doshi
The official launch of the Cucumbertown Magazine happened this month, and we wanted to start things off with a bang! What better way to do that than an interview with one of the most popular food bloggers in the country, Archana Doshi. And people loved it! All the months of creating content and working towards the magazine seemed to be paying off. And Richa Gupta, and her beautiful food blog My Food Story had shifted base from Wordpress to Cucumbertown! And another beautiful blog The Flavours of Kitchen, by Subhasmita Panigrahi, also joined the family! We couldn’t have been happier. As you can see, the months were getting more and more exciting as the year went by.
August 2015: Saffron Trail, and Sin A Mon Tales hosted by Cucumbertown and the Prodigal Founder returns!
As a result of the crackling interview with Archana and news of the acquisition, people had started taking note of brand CT. Enquiries and requests were pouring in and among them were two of Bangalore’s most prolific food bloggers Nandita Iyer and Monika Manchanda. And like the last year our Onam article went viral once more! Like this wasn’t reason enough for celebration, Cherian Thomas after a long stint in the US was back in the country and with the team.Which takes us to what happened the month after. OOOOOH! This was super, super exciting for us!
September 2015: The Thailand Trip
I told you this was getting exciting. With this one, I’m just going to let the pictures do the talking.
As you can tell, it was definitely a swell September for us! And we got yet another team member: Super Shrini!
October 2015: A New Office and Baby Steps to Monetization
This month was a little bittersweet for us. After Cherian left to the US, we moved from our home of the last two years to a spanking new office. While we were more than thrilled with the super cool new office, complete with the oh-so-pretty kitchen, we were also going to miss our cosy home office. But change is a constant, so it had to be done. And frankly there were too many of us by that point!
Another big wow moment was the fact that baby steps were taken for monetization this month. Ads were deployed on several blogs and Shrini, the head of Monetization was on his toes making sure everything was running smoothly.
November 2015: More Monetization and No Recipes Moves to Cucumbertown
The affiliate feature, something the team had worked on for months was finally ready. This meant BIG news for our monetization plans. We had our bespoke feature, something that was unique to us and would make a difference to our monetization schemes. And this would be a good time to also let you know that Shrini’s efforts were paying off. The dollars had started trickling in! With the added benefit of our affiliate feature now we were where we wanted to be. And that’s a really good feeling :)
Of course, the cherry on that cake was the fact that one of the most respected food bloggers across the world Marc Matsumoto had moved his blog, No Recipes to Cucumbertown. It was certainly a high point for us and I think we are still grinning from ear to ear about it. And to celebrate we went out for lunch :)
Notice something different? Today I'm super excited to introduce you to the all new No Recipes! With a shiny new logo…norecipes.com
December 2015: Secret Santa, Office Hours and Bidding Goodbye to 2015
Christmas time!!! Lulled with some mulled wine, right? Things were in a strange pace this month. The first few weeks were at fever pitch! People were working round the clock. And then it slowly changed and we slipped easily into Christmas mode. Decorations were put up in our still new office, secret santas were assigned and cakes were being baked. Sigh, what a lovely time of the year!
And we also launched our first ever Office Hour session where some CT bloggers got to interact with the team and ask them questions. We have to say we were honestly overwhelmed with the positive feedback and we want to thank our bloggers for all the love and support they have shown us.
So that was the year 2015 for Cucumbertown. It was a thrilling, frustrating, humbling and absolutely unforgettable year. Every day was a challenge and a triumph. And this is not some mumbo jumbo we have concocted to sound amazing. We honestly do believe in this. There’s a reason we all wake up wanting to go into work, and that’s always our users. It’s not easy for people to show support to a startup that has big dreams. Sure, it may sound good on paper, But what if the whole thing fizzles out? But we have had so many people stand by us and we are truly grateful for that.
And now we cannot wait for 2016. There’s already a huge line up of bloggers we are gonna see on CT and monetization is looking so very promising and we have whole new features coming out soon. Should be an exciting year, right? Don’t forget to follow the Cucumbertown Magazine on Medium to stay tuned to what we are cooking up in 2016.
Happy New Year Folks and Wish You all a Fantabulous 2016!