COMPANY: Crcl

YEAR FOUNDED: 2015

Business review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List fill a critical need for customers to read and write about businesses they visit. This model has been effective in finding new places to go, as it allows users to search for businesses and read through pages of reviews. However, it is not just the reviews about a business that matter, but rather, the reviewers themselves. When people look for the next restaurant or movie theater to visit, whose opinions are they reading?

Reviews have lost the element of reliability that once made them a helpful resource. Fake reviews and ones from strangers make up a large portion of the content on current reviewing platforms. The only reviews people care to read are those with the highest star ratings, but people rarely have time to sift through paragraphs of text to find the information they are looking for. Users should not only have an easy way to rate their experiences but also have a reliable source of information at their fingertips.

Now, a couple of college students from the University of Notre Dame have set out to fix these issues surrounding business reviews. Nineteen-year-old student Chas Pulido, along with classmate Peter St. John, have launched a startup called Crcl that aims to build a social community around reviewers. By letting new customers seek out reviews from their friends, family, and colleagues, the duo aims to promote connectivity between people they trust and empower them to explore with confidence.

This is how it works—Crcl lets friends and people with common interests share reviews of businesses, places, and their going-out experiences. Whether you want to go out to eat, see a movie, or go for a hike, Crcl presents users with reviews from people they trust. In essence, Crcl is a recommendation engine that brings together a collection of people’s tastes and preferences, a quick rating system, and a social community centered around genuine reviews that provide users with a recommendation and experience that they will love. Crcl was ideated in 2015 and has taken shape over the past year. The team is currently 40 members strong, and the product is expected to launch in the summer of 2016.