Raved, a Mix Between Yelp and Foursquare, Launches New Feature This Month

Carlin Sack

File 22682

Raved Tastemakers at January launch, from left to right: Steve Dolinsky, Nina Hahn, Ashley Pettit, Cameron Croft, Ashley Hooks. 

 

File 22685After its official Chicago launch in January, Raved, an app for raving about a city’s best spots, is already launching a newer version this month with an ‘ask friends’ feature.

“Right now you can go into the app and ‘discover’ great places your friends are raving about or rave about places yourself; we’re building in a feature in which you can just ask friends ‘Where should I go now?’” Raved CEO and President Henry Vogel said.

The original idea behind Raved is pretty intuitive – users only generate positive feedback, so that people in their existing social networks know where to go (and don’t waste time reading about where not to go). And the app’s new ‘ask friends’ feature is simply building off the common behavior of asking friends for recommendations on Facebook or Twitter. Raved simplifies this whole process of asking for recommendations and discovering new places because the app pulls in the all relevant information, like store hours or a restaurant’s site, for users.

Raved serves different purposes than both Yelp (which shares reviews, not recommendations) and Foursquare (which focuses more on the “check-in game”), Vogel said, because Raved only shows users Raves from Facebook or Foursquare friends.

Currently, Raved is available nationally in the App Store, has over 2.5 million users and 20 million raves. Although only officially launched in Chicago, Vogel said he has his eyes on San Francisco, New York, Boston and Los Angeles in the future.

In each city Raved launches, influencers, called Tastemakers, are brought on board to Rave about their favorite spots. Chicago’s Tastemakers, which include ABC 7 food and dining reporter Steve Dolinsky, Miss Illinois USA 2012 Ashley Hooks, nutrition and fitness expert Ashley Pettit, social entrepreneur Cameron Croft and travel journalist Nina Hahn, got together with about 250 guests at Untitled in January to Rave and celebrate the Chicago launch (Vogel said several thousand Raves were generated in just that night).

Chicago is the first city in which Raved has officially launched and also the city in which Raved started out with a “soft launch,” gaining beta testers last summer during its partnership with BIN 36’s Real Men Drink Pink campaign. Vogel said Chicago is the perfect market for Silicon Valley-based Raved because people go out a lot and have a wide variety of interests and activities.

“It’s got a very urban feel; there’s so much to do that’s vibrant in the city and people really take advantage of it,” Vogel said. “We thought it was just a terrific market where friends really do help each other find those great hotspots and those hidden gems.”

Follow Raved on Twitter at @ravedmobile.

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