A Q&A with Woofound co-founder and CEO Josh Spears. The Baltimore, Maryland–based company was founded in and has raised nearly $1.2 million in Angel funding.
SUB: Please describe what Woofound is, and the value proposition you bring to social interaction.
Spears: Woofound is an iPhone app that makes finding things to do easier, faster and more personalized. The app uses a signature personality game called ‘Me or Not Me’ to identify users’ personality types—adventurer, artist, warrior, etc.—and then matches them to places, activities and restaurants based on their individual personalities and preferences.
Our app enables people to skip the usual ‘What are we doing tonight?’ conversation, and get right on with living, suggesting places they’ll love. Additionally, users can make plans with friends, choosing group activities based on commonalities among the group’s preferences.
SUB: Who are your target users?
Spears: Our target users are people who want to discover their city in a new way, as well as any cities they visit. Generally, we find these are younger people who are highly mobile, social and who also love to explore.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Spears: Our competition includes other business search engines such as Yelp and GoGoBot. Foursquare also just updated their application to include recommendations to users.
SUB: What differentiates Woofound from the competition?
Spears: Woofound is driven by the users’ psychological profile created by playing ‘Me or Not Me,’ which means that we provide a more accurate and personalized way to discover cool things to do.
With the help of Noreen Honeycutt, PhD., our Head of Psychology, we have moved beyond simply suggesting places to go by introducing science to social event discovery. The personality game is inspired by Myers Briggs and other psychological assessments and is a highly-validated profile system.
Because the psychological engine measures more than 300 personality traits, preferences, and interests, we believe Woofound is a much more accurate and personalized way to suggest things to do, rather than based on past behavior or location.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Spears: We started Woofound in April 2011. The first step was building a team. We needed to hire the most talented people we know, so we turned to our friends and family and began recruiting the Woofound team.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Woofound? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Spears: Woofound grew out of our frustration with not being able to find great things to do that were personalized to who we are.
With a million and one options out there—restaurants, museums, events and everything in between—it was almost impossible to narrow what we would actually enjoy, especially when making plans with friends. We came up with Woofound as a tool to suggest things to do that everyone in the group would enjoy, so we could spend less time searching on the Internet and more time out with friends.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Spears: We’ve been pretty lucky with Woofound. In just over one year, we transitioned from an idea, to building a team of talented developers, to launching the app. It has been amazing to see all of our team’s work culminate into the launch last week.
SUB: You launched to the public just a few weeks ago. Why was this a particularly good time to launch?
Spears: We believe we launched at a good time. We wanted to wait for Facebook IPO news to settle down, as well as wait until people were back in the office after the long Memorial Day weekend.
We believe we introduced Woofound at an ideal time for a big group of users. It’s finally warm out on a daily basis, so people are making more plans with friends. Also, schools are out for the summer so students will be able to take advantage of Woofound when planning get-togethers with other friends during break.
SUB: Do you plan to raise outside funding in the near future?
Spears: We do plan on continuing to raise funding for Woofound as we continue to expand our business.
SUB: What are your goals for Woofound over the next year or so?
Spears: We’re exploring other applications of the Woofound personality and recommendation engine. For example, we’re introducing a university application that adds gamification to career matching. This app will make choosing a career path more fun, less challenging, and even more insightful as it will be based off of our psychological matching engine. This university application will also match users to people on campus with similar interests, clubs, majors, and ultimately, help users determine future careers.
Additionally, we will be rolling out an Android app soon.
Woofound – www.woofound.com