Last May at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC, Gauri Manglik and her two cofounders launched SpotOn, a mobile recommendation app for bars and restaurants based on where your friends have checked in on Foursquare. The people who ended up using the app used it more as a social network than as a recommendation tool. So Manglik and her team took what they learned and built an entirely new product called Fondu, which they are launching today as an iPhone app.
“We are building a social network for writing bite-sized reviews,” says Manglik. It is a Foursquare for foodies. You can search for places nearby or pull up a list of your recent Foursquare check-ins, and review each place with a short comment and give it a one-to-four petal rating with a swipe of your thumb. The app gives you a feed to follow your friends’ ratings and mini-reviews, or you can see what is popular on a map near you.
Fondu is designed to be an antidote to Yelp. “You write your review on Yelp and it goes to a community directory,” notes Manglik. “There are so many people you don’t care about on the service.” With Fondu, you see only reviews from your friends and popular reviews which have been given “cheers” by the community.
The company raised a $575,000 seed round led by ENIAC Ventures. The NYU Innovation Fund, Harbor Road Ventures, Blazer Ventures, Lawrence Lenihan, and Zach Aarons also participated in the round.
Fondu (formerly SpotOn) was a community for sharing bite-sized reviews about places to eat and drink. Users wrote a short review of places they visited and gave it a rating of 1-4 “petals” that got pushed to their followers in the community. After launching SpotOn as an NYC only beta at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC in May, the team spent a lot of time refining the recommendation engine and testing with users. Based on extensive user feedback, the team decided to...