January 08, 2008 11:00 ET Receives $500K Private Equity Funding to Grow First Social Networking Site for Restaurant and Bar Industry

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - January 8, 2008) -, a nascent vertical social networking site, announces a $500,000 investment from veteran restaurateur Larry Mindel, of Il Fornaio fame; Darius Anderson, of Kenwood Investments and Platinum Advisors; and select industry insiders. The funds are earmarked for site improvements and custom software development, as well as marketing and content acquisition., co-founded by Sonny Mayugba, Randy Paragary and Mark Braden, was created as a dedicated online platform for members of the restaurant and bar industry to fuel camaraderie and to exchange personal and professional information.

"Social networking in restaurants and bars predates the Internet," said Mayugba, CEO of "It makes sense to have a virtual club where those relationships can be established and nurtured. The investment and alliance with industry heavyweights transforms from a website into a company."

Mindel, managing partner of Poggio Trattoria in Sausalito, Calif., values's potential. "BiteClub speaks the language of restaurants," he said. "There isn't any social network for restaurants, which is why I'm interested in the site. We're always using something else that was designed for somebody else. Whatever and whomever you need to know in the restaurant business, BiteClub is your conduit for answers." hopes to harness the collective power of the nearly 13 million workers in the restaurant industry, which is the nation's second largest employer behind the government. Anderson, who in addition to being an investor is's director of business development, explained that the site can evolve into a definitive resource that members can use either to disseminate information or to learn about diverse topics from health care to sustainable business practices.

"Capturing this collective wisdom will make valuable for the industry and foodies alike," Anderson said. (, which launched in beta in May 2007, will introduce an enhanced version at an event during the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas (Feb. 24-27). The first of a kind, the site has become a destination for its growing membership of chefs, restaurateurs, bartenders, servers, culinary students and everyone in between to trade details about where to eat and drink, recipes, anecdotes, new products, marketing, design and countless other topics.

About the Founders:

Sonny Mayugba, CEO -- Former publisher/founder of Heckler Magazine and, and guitarist for alternative-rock band Daycare.

Randy Paragary, COO -- A restaurateur since 1969, Randy is the founder of the Sacramento, Calif.-based Paragary Restaurant Group, which operates 12 restaurants and bar concepts.

Mark Braden, CTO -- Technology entrepreneur and jet pilot.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Sonny Mayugba
    Phone: 916-454-4584
    Email: Email Contact