Featured Startup Pitch: Picky – Vine meets Yelp for more reliable reviews
Vine meets Yelp with 60-second verified reviews.
Picky developed a free video sharing app that solved the fake review problem and other issues in the text review industry. The Picky app allows people to record their opinion of a product or place for up to 60 seconds and share it with their followers on Picky and other popular social networking sites. However, if there is no visual proof of the product or place in the review, it’s flagged for removal by the Picky community. This is the first time an app has been created to not only be an informative, entertaining and a fun alternative to text reviews, but also a social platform of verified consumers and reviews.
The Picky app helps any consumer to discover verified reviews, shared by other proven consumers, on products and places while making it incredibly fun. Users can follow other people to have their reviews displayed in a home feed and even subscribe to notifications to ensure they never miss their opinion. You can also talk directly with any reviewer, if you have something to say or have a question, by leaving a comment. All reviews on Picky are ranked by an algorithm and it is powered by the community, so the best and most helpful reviews are listed first when searching by hashtag. Therefore, the days of endlessly sifting through countless blogs and websites for text reviews and trying to determine if the review is real or fake are over.
DIFFERENTIATORS VS. THE COMPETITION
There are no big players or direct competitors in this market right now. Yelp, YouTube and Vine set the scene for Picky to emerge. Yelp has experienced numerous lawsuits over the years and users are losing confidence in their service as they continue to struggle to identify what is a real review from a fake review. The University of Illinois put the number of fake online reviews on Yelp close to 30 percent, and Yelp has 90 million reviews as of Q3 2015. That’s a total of 27 million Yelp reviews that are estimated to be fake.
Meanwhile, for specific products like smartphones and makeup, YouTube has become relied upon for users to watch reviews. However, YouTube is not a dedicated review platform and wasn’t designed to only discover products and places. Vine bridged the gap between a video platform and created a fun and social experience. Therefore, Picky took the deficiencies of Yelp and the popularity of product reviews on YouTube and combined it with the social aspect of video sharing of Vine to make a beautiful new app.
Landon Hobson is the founder and CEO of Picky. After graduating from the University of Texas at Tyler, Landon moved to Austin, Texas to work in the technology industry. For the past five years he has worked as a software project manager. Landon met his co-founder, Vince Matocha, in 2012 while working in real estate in Austin. They worked to bring verified reviews to a particular part of the real estate industry under another startup founded by Vince, but later dissolved it to pursue their new startup together, Picky.
Vince works full-time and is also a student at Texas State working towards his BBA in management with an entrepreneurial studies concentration. The only other co-founder is Joshua Hobson, who is Picky’s mobile app developer. Joshua graduated from Texas A&M and has an accomplished background in marketing and advertising. He has worked in website and applications development for ten years and currently holds a title as a database analyst and applications developer for a technology department in Austin. Joey McGirr became part of the team in 2015, and he is the CEO of a social media solutions provider in Austin. All team members were drawn to work at Picky because of the power behind the idea, and all were passionate about solving a major problem for millions of people through technology.
HEADQUARTERS: Austin, Texas
YEAR FOUNDED: 2013