Tout’d Puts $1.4M Seed Round toward Updating Recommendation Platform

7/26/12Follow @jpruth

A plethora of apps and websites try to help users figure out where to shop and eat but New York-based Tout’d believes it has trumped its rivals by focusing on what friends rather than strangers recommend. This month the company announced it raised $1.4 million in a seed round led by Warner Hill Angels. The co-founders of Tout’d—TechStars alum Arron Kallenberg and former Wall Streeters Rob Morelli and Saro Cutri—say they plan to use the funding to revamp their platform and grow their technical team.

Tout’d pivoted in January from WhichDoc, a company founded one year ago that developed a recommendation site for finding doctors. The current platform lets users pose questions to their extended social network of Facebook friends about stores, restaurants, trip destinations and general questions. It is a bit like question-and-answer websites such as Quora or Answer.com but with responses from a more personal community. While platforms such as Yelp and New York-based startup Taap.it also let users seek advice from others for similar needs, Tout’d aims to be different by focusing on opinions from within the users’ social connections

“The motivation for coming to our site is about helping friends,” Morelli says. Friends who use the Tout’d platform will receive the users’ questions immediately. “We also allow you to post the question to Facebook,” Morelli says. If someone clicks on the link with the question they are taken to the Tout’d website to provide answers. He believes that answers provided by users’ friends can set Tout’d apart from its peers, which may rely on algorithms to offer recommendations. “We think the content generated on our platform is higher quality and more actionable than the responses on other sites,” he says.

Cutri says the Tout’d platform calls attention to questions that might otherwise get lost in the constant flow of updates on Facebook. “If you happen to not be watching … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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