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Erika Nardini Joins Food52: Transitioning from Sports to Culinary

Erika Nardini, the former CEO of Barstool Sports, has taken on a new role at Food52, as CEO of a culinary and home goods company recently valued at $200 million.

Erika Nardini, the former CEO of Barstool Sports

Transformative Tenure at Barstool Sports

Nardini's journey with Barstool Sports began in July 2016, shortly after The Chernin Group acquired a majority stake in the company in January of that year. At the time of her appointment, Barstool Sports was valued between $10 million and $15 million. Under Nardini's leadership, the company's valuation saw unprecedented growth.

In her first year as CEO, Nardini doubled the company's valuation to $30 million. This rapid growth continued, with the company reaching a valuation of $100 million by 2018 and a staggering $450 million by 2020. Nardini's ability to scale the business was a testament to her strategic vision and innovative approach to digital media and content.

Transition to Food52

Nardini's departure from Barstool Sports in January 2024 marked the end of an era for the company. However, her move to Food52 opens a new chapter in her career.

Food52, a dynamic online platform dedicated to the culinary arts and home goods, was founded in 2009 by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. The creation of Food52 was fueled by a passion for food and a vision to build a community-driven space where home cooks could find inspiration, share their culinary experiences, and access high-quality kitchen and home products.

Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs

Founders' Background

Like Barstool Sports, Food52 was a founder-run company by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. Hesser, a former food editor and writer for The New York Times, had already made her mark in the culinary world with her insightful food writing and her influential book, "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." Stubbs, a talented chef and food writer, shared Hesser's enthusiasm for cooking and her commitment to fostering a vibrant food community.

The name "Food52" reflects the founders' goal of creating a year-round resource for home cooks, offering inspiration and guidance 52 weeks a year. The platform quickly gained traction, thanks to its high-quality content, engaging community features, and the founders' dedication to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for food enthusiasts.

Expanding the Vision

As Food52 grew, Hesser and Stubbs expanded the platform beyond recipes and community interaction. They introduced an e-commerce component, curating a marketplace of kitchen and home products that reflected their commitment to quality and design. This move transformed Food52 into a comprehensive culinary and lifestyle brand, offering everything from cookware and utensils to home décor and specialty foods.

Role of Community

Central to Food52's success has been its vibrant and engaged community very similar to Barstool. The platform's users, affectionately known as "Food52ers," contribute recipes, participate in discussions, and provide feedback. This strong sense of community has helped Food52 build a loyal following and establish itself as a trusted resource.

Expanding Food52

The recent investment from TPG, which injected $80 million into Food52, has significantly bolstered the company's resources and capabilities. This funding round has not only propelled the company's valuation to $200 million but also positioned it for further expansion and innovation. With Nardini at the helm, Food52 is poised to leverage her leadership skills to enhance its market presence and drive growth.

In short: Nardini's transition from Barstool Sports to Food52 underscores her versatility as a leader and her ability to adapt to new industries. As she takes on this new challenge, her vision and leadership are expected to play a crucial role in shaping the future of Food52.


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