When you look at a review or star rating, you are gambling away your night, hoping that your decision will lead to a good experience. The problem is that you don’t know “the taste” of the person who left the review and the five-star rating system is broken. We have created a better way.
Location: Charleston, South Carolina, United States (corporate headquarters), in 31 cities
Product / Service Offering: Find local favorite restaurants
Co-founder Interviewed: Andy Seavers
Other Key Management Team Members: Zac Dixon, Sam Cowden
This article is part of our Business Startup Spotlight series featuring entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope that these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.
I like making cool stuff. My background is in software products, both the digital marketing space and the product development space. I have built several web and mobile apps for clients. Like a construction foreman, but for software, I effectively plan out software builds, hire the team, and manage the process. I am currently the CEO of Taste.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
In 2015, I was living in Nashville with the two co-founders. We were trying to decide where to eat and were tired of sifting through negative reviews and ambiguous star ratings. Taste came about because we wanted a way for people to vote on their one favorite place.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
When people are deciding where to go, they want to have the best experience possible. When you look at a review or star rating, you are gambling away your night, hoping that your decision will lead to a good experience. The problem is that you don’t know “the taste” of the person who left the review and the five-star rating system is broken. We have created a better way.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
The thing that makes a favorite so valuable is the fact that you only get one. The five-star rating system is broken. We have replaced it. Our users have the easiest and quickest solution to find local favorites.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
We launched our company with an IOS app. Some people do not want to download an app, so we are building out our web platform to have greater availability to people.
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
Entrepreneurs should utilize the resources provided by lean startup. Do not overbuild. Get to the core of the job to be accomplished.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
We closed our first round in July. We are currently raising our second round. Raising money during the holidays is tough. If I was able to change the timing, I would start raising in February; however, we need more capital to grow.
Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?
Early on in my career, I had a misconception of what investable products look like. Once I gained a good understanding, fundraising became easier.
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
We want to continue pouring the gasoline on the fire to grow, but we are running out of runway right in the middle of the holidays. Aiming to close our round as soon as possible.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
Track everything. When you plan for or against something, make sure you keep track of the decision and how you came to your conclusion; otherwise, in a few months you will be wondering why you did or didn’t pursue a specific business model, marketing campaign, etc.