Last Spring, Robby Stein and Bart Stein (not related) left their jobs at Google to start a company, Stamped.Stamped received funding from Google Ventures and others to become a mobile app that would make restaurant and small business reviews more social.
It was well received and named one of the best new apps in the App Store. But a few months in, Stein and his two cofounders realised they had a bigger, better idea.
They wanted Stamped to be a place where users could keep track of all of their favourite things, from restaurants to books, movies and music. It should be more like Pinterest and less like Yelp, they determined.
The startup’s team of 10 (five are ex-Googlers) spent the past six months quietly rewriting every line of the app’s code. A slew of A-list investors are supporting Stamped’s new vision; Ryan Seacrest, Ellen DeGeneres, Justin Bieber, The New York Times, Columbia Records, Crunchfund, Eric Schmidt, ShoeDazzle’s Brian Lee, and Pandora CTO Tom Conrad are all investors. Stamped has raised $3 million to date.
“Ellen talks about her favourite things on her show all the time; now she has a place to put them,” says CEO Robby Stein.
Stamped 2.0 now app operates like Twitter; you can follow others and see their activity in your feed. Each user only gets 100 stamps to use on their favourite things and they’re given more if users interact with their recommendations. The stamp limit, Stein believes, will make every recommendation more authentic.
In addition, Stamped creates personalised guides for users based on their interests and their friends’ recommendations. It pulls together lists of books, restaurants, movies and songs for users to try based on suggestions from trusted people and publishers. The New York Times, for example, will be putting all of its Best Sellers on Stamped as book recommendations.
Stamped has relationships with over a dozen third-party sources, from Spotify to Amazon. When you find a song on Stamped, for example, you can listen to it in the app through Spotify. Books can be previewed and purchased via Amazon. But all of the information you need about a product or service you discover on Stamped is available within the app.
The three founders, Robby, Bart and Kevin Palms, are determined to build a long-term network where people help others discover amazing things.
“People ultimately discover things through other people in offline conversations,” says Stein. “We built the new version of Stamped to capture a people-driven approach to discovery.”
Stein is coming in to tell us more about the app this afternoon. In the meantime, here’s a video interview with Stein explaining the first version of Stamped from February. Here’s what Stamped’s office looks like. And here’s what the new app looks like: