Ex-Yahoos Michael Walrath, Pat McCarthy, Michael McNeeley, and Michael White are about to launch a new startup in beta. It’s called GuideMe. It seems to be a be a recommendation engine, powered by Twitter. It’ll start with restaurants.
We’re paying attention because of Michael Walrath’s track record. He’s the guy who cofounded Right Media and then, as CEO, sold it to Yahoo for $850 million back in 2007. On GuideMe’s still-not-in-beta Web site, he’s listed as a “cofounder and board member.”
CEO McCarthy and product lead McNeeley are also Right Media veterans. At Right Media, McCarthy lead development of the Direct Media Exchange – the product that got Yahoo to pay so much. McNeeley worked under him. At Yahoo, the pair languished in Yahoo marketing services and seem to have left as soon as they could.
Here’s how it’s described on the Web site:
GuideMe is a web application that creates a new way to ask for, get, and organise recommendations.
At launch we are helping people get great restaurant recommendations for specific situations from their friends on social networks. GuideMe helps you ask your friends for specific suggestions, aggregates the results, and then makes them useful and actionable while making GuideMe smarter. In the future we will be giving our own top recommendations as well.
And here’s a manifesto McCarthy wrote for the company blog:
Almost every great company starts from a problem that founders identify and want to see solved. GuideMe is no different.
When I worked at Right Media/Yahoo!, I spent a lot of time travelling and eating in cities that I didn’t know very well and with different people in all types of dining situations. Each time this was more of a hassle than it should have been, and often the results of where I stayed or where we ate was rarely ideal.
Even if we ended up with a great place, it often took time to come that conclusion. I used search engines, review sites, and every mobile phone app under the sun in order to find a suitable restaurant that fit not only my tastes but the tastes of our group and had the right atmosphere for our situation.
It wasn’t just technology that often failed. I tried asking friends who lived in town, coworkers, hotel concierges, cab drivers, and even people on the street. I can’t count how many times I’ve been recommended a “great sushi bar”. Unfortunately, I don’t like sushi.
It hasn’t just been for business travel. When I went on family vacations my vegetarian wife and very picky kids often made finding the right restaurant a difficult task. It also took quite a bit of research each time to find a hotel that was good for kids and close to what we wanted to do. Sorry, I just don’t enjoy reading reviews online for an hour.
This problem didn’t just exist when I traveled either. Even at home I often wanted to break out of the rut of the usual places I dine at, so having a service that would give me and my wife a great suggestion for a romantic dinner would be useful.
As I dove into the problems around this there are quite a few companies that have gone after this problem in one way or another. This means it’s a big a problem others have seen as well and tried to solve. However, there is no solution today that makes me say “Wow, that was a great experience.” So we decided to build it.
Fortunately, I was able to find some talented people who also felt the same way and wanted to be a part of building the solution. We’re working on it.
NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.