According to an analysis of Fakespot data, as much as 39% of online reviews and recommendations are fake. With an increasing number of bots, anonymous users, and incentivized reviews, would-be consumers are inundated with often inaccurate and unreliable information. RecSpot is a social recommendation platform that only displays recommendations from friends and trustworthy contacts. Users are able to curate their own personalized list in a centralized destination rather than sending individual messages and going through the disparate experience of visiting dozens of different channels. The company, which just launched, is focused on entertainment at launch, with recommendations focusing on television and film. The company will launch into new verticals including dining, hospitality, shopping, and more. The app is live and available for iOS and Android.
AlleyWatch caught up with RecSpot Founder Ian O’Brien to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic roadmap, recent round of funding, and much, much more.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Friends and family pre-seed raise $200K.
Tell us about the product or service that RecSpot offers.
RecSpot is a social recommendation platform. Recommendations are everywhere, but a way to find and organize trustworthy recs is nowhere to be found.
What inspired the start of RecSpot?
Lack of trust in recommendation platforms and not having an easy way to organize and share what I love with others.
It is focused on your trusted network. RecSpot makes it easy to connect with friends and adds personalization throughout the app. For example, if you are searching for a movie, it will let you know which of your friends rated the movie.
What market does RecSpot target and how big is it?
It is launching in the entertainment space; however, in Q1 2022 it will cover more categories such as restaurants, hotels, places to go, shops, markets and more. Sharing interests in a social manner can be part of a massive market – $50B+.
What’s your business model?
- Privacy first, but we will monetize anonymized macro data
- Freemium: subscription ad-free experience or native ads in the app
How has COVID-19 impacted the business??
Everyone is remote. Working through complex issues is much harder with everyone being remote. I see that changing in 2022 as we build some core talent in NY.
What was the funding process like?
There is a lot more to come here. Friends and family were receptive to the concept. We used a convertible note in the beginning and now are using a safe to simplify the process.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
More to come here as we look to raise a seed round in late 2021.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Trust in the team, the concept, the initial vision, and product design.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Category expansion, initial revenue streams, and 250K user base.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
It’s hard, but you have to attract the best talent at a reasonable rate with equity being the long-term play. The talent has to believe in the idea and fully commit to agree to a reasonable rate with equity.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We are focused on user acquisition with the launch. That will entail PR and building a community via social, web, and the app. Easily sharing recommendations to well-established social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram is a big part of our go-to-market strategy. We are building a network of celebs and influencers to help raise awareness for RecSpot.
What’s your favorite outdoor dining restaurant in NYC
Right now, it is Lola Taverna. Love the food and vibe there.