tech-raved-app-helps-users-find-hot-spots

When you’ve had a great experience somewhere, whether at the salon, a resort, the neighborhood hardware store, or that sweet little bistro, don’t you want to share it with friends and save the info on your phone for your next outing?

And wouldn’t you love to have your friends’ list of recommendations in your pocket? That’s the whole point of Raved, a useful new crowdsourcing app that gives voice to the positive.

No need to waste time reading negative reviews when all you really want to know is where—as opposed to where not—to go. Think of it as the anti-Yelp, although Wilmette native and Raved CEOHenry Vogel is quick to point out that Yelp serves a purpose, but he wanted to take a different approach.

“Today, anyone and everyone who is online has a microphone,” Vogel says. “But they also have anonymity, which allows people to rant or vent. Online draws the extremes. No doubt, there’s a role for that, but we wanted to amplify the positive. Life’s too short to be negative.”

Vogel is no stranger to tech startups. A graduate of New Trier, Northwestern and the Harvard Business School, he began his career as a management consultant at BCG. But Silicon Valley called, and he loved the energy, first working in corporate strategy and development at eBay, and then moving into the world of startups as CRO of Quigo, and then CEO of Apptera, which begat Raved.

“I wanted a place to put all my favorite places so I could easily find and share them,” he says. “And I wanted the ability to quickly access my go-to friends’ favorites. I’ve got a drawer full of menus and business cards, but I wanted it all on my phone.”

Enter the concept for Raved, a social recommendation engine that does just that. Raved also integrates lots of other useful information for those places like contact info, pictures, maps, menus, reservations and deals from more than 25 different partners, including Facebook, Foursquare,Twitter, GrubHub, Groupon, OpenTable and, yes, even Yelp.

Raved lets you follow restaurants, stores and services that get endorsements from your friends. Raved has also enlisted and aggregated information from what they call “Über Ravers”—market influencers and authorities like celebrities, chefs and journalists (full disclosure: I’m an Über Raver)—so you can easily get their recommendations, too. With the app, anyone can Rave about places they love, whether it be in Evanston, Napa Valley or Manhattan. And more users means increased content—literally, the more the merrier.

“Everyone has their favorite go-to friends and sources, their influencers,” Vogel says. “With Raved, you have the context of a friend—or an Über Raver—to recommend something that they’ve enjoyed and we put them right in your pocket wherever you are and whenever you need their advice.”

Photo courtesy of Raved.