I’ve always hated the notion of ratings based on five stars. It makes no sense. Sure, something that sucks is “1 star” and something awesome is “5 stars”, but what determines a “2 star” rating? What about a “4 stars”? It’s totally arbitrary. Why not just say something is “bad”, “okay”, “good”, or “great”? Or better yet, why not say nothing unless something is great? That’s the basic idea behind Stamped, a new startup currently in stealth mode.
The startup has deep Google ties — 2 of the 3 co-founders are ex-Google, while 4 of the 7 total team members are — but it’s iPhone-only for now. They’re taking the Instagram-approach to launching in that regard. And they’re taking cues from Instagram in another key regard: simplicity.
“It can be hard to figure out what a 3-star rating from 70 strangers means. We want to introduce simplicity back into the system by reducing it all down to one question: does it deserve your friend’s stamp of approval?,” co-founders and CEO Robby Stein says. “Every decision we’ve made has been designed to make the act of stamping as fast and simple as possible,” he continues.
I love everything about those statements. And Stein goes further:
“We’re obsessively focused on building a social platform designed for quality over quantity. There is so much value in discovering great things through your friends and too much noise on current platforms to do it easily. We want to change that.”
When it launches, Stamped will be entering an already-crowded space around mobile-based ratings. This reminds me of Instagram launching a year ago just as a plethora of mobile photo startups were launching. Simplicity and speed won the day. Stamped is hoping it plays out the same way for them.
Stein notes that he’s been obsessing over this idea for a few years, but started on it in earnest in April when he left Google (where he worked on Gmail and more recently, Ad Exchange). “I saw that people loved to talk about the things they liked best over coffee, emails, texts, or even massive Google spreadsheets (I swear my friend has one). I noticed this is information people are naturally drawn to sharing, so I started with building a prototype that made this easier and more efficient,” he says.
There are a few other unique layers to the app, to avoid what the team calls “data diarrhea”. More on that when the app is ready to launch.
The startup, which is entirely New York City-based right now, raised a Series A round of funding from Bain Capital Ventures and Google Ventures earlier this year. The amount is undisclosed.
Look for Stamped to launch in the next few weeks. For now, you can sign up to learn more on their site.