Buffy Li was once very patient when she took time off from her Spring wreck to talk to me.
Li, an 11th grader at Santa Cruz’s Kirby prep college, spent many of the week off coordinating the launch of her new app, TagDat. while she’s wired about getting her ducks in a row, the app is in truth the second startup she’s labored on, so she knows how it goes.
As one of the crucial founders of TagDat, a nascent would-be Yelp competitor with $ 280,000 in pre-seed funding, Li doesn’t have time for much of a social lifestyles. She does, on the other hand, manage to dutifully take care of an Instagram account for her cat, a cornflower blue-eyed ragdoll named Bailey (on the time of writing, Bailey had 27,four hundred followers).
Li created TagDat with co-founders Wilson Li (no relation), 21, and university of California scholar Zheng Cai, 31. The staff combines Li’s minimalist design beliefs and foodie bent with Cai’s big knowledge chops (he’s an astrophysics submit-doc and NASA Hubble Fellow) and Wilson Li’s startup knowledge.
previous to TagDat, Li taught herself app design along with her first app, Haorizi, a chinese language social community for women, when a household friend wanted to carry any other designer in to collaborate with the corporate’s existing workforce.
“i’ve at all times been inquisitive about all types of designing,” Li said. “I’ve tried a lot of things up to now, drawing, oil painting and whatnot. I actually love UI/UX design for websites.”
simply three years ago, Li’s domestic moved to Santa Cruz from Wuxi, “a somewhat small however developed metropolis” near Shanghai. seeing that shifting, she’s been balancing her intercontinental work shuttle together with her different tasks, like AP Physics.
After the TagDat group obtained a prototype off the ground, they linked with Shanghai Man Feng Asset management company, which chipped in $ 250,000 in a pre-seed round.
“We offered them with the theory, and we had a working prototype at the moment,” Li recounts. “both my companion and that i received to present the pitch. We divided it 1/2 and half and i lined the technical design facet and he covered more the marketing facet.”
In an industry continuously brazenly adverse to women twice her age, Li hasn’t had so much bother proving herself. “In most encounters I’m truly fortunate that people really take me significantly and that they believe in what I’m doing.” Li mentioned that any skeptics went quiet after the app raised its preliminary cash.
TagDat departs from Yelp’s mildew in a number of methods. For one, it’s brilliant and playful, more like Foursquare however with out the gamification or id hindrance. but the core difference is that TagDat relies on tags relatively than textual content. It’s just like the emoji an identical of native industry reviews, letting users price a place with at-a-glance descriptors like “spicy” or “genuine” rather than digging via a bunch of no longer very searchable words.
for those who ask Li, Yelp buries its most dear data, and even when it doesn’t, “the implications aren’t very good.” in fact, as a new local reviews app, TagDat must battle an uphill fight to populate its database. For now, it is going to rely on a combination of exterior listings like Google places blended with information from alpha/beta testers.
as a result of pre-determined tags will also be parsed even more simply than textual content, TagDat plans to research how customers describe its listings and sell certain analyses to the businesses it lists somewhat than relying on promotion income.
Li and workforce consider that the pressure for companies to promote is biased toward established companies, and that can dampen the success of up-and-coming companies. whereas the release is only in beta, the workforce is already working on the app’s subsequent set of features because it seeks to boost round $ 4 million in a proper seed round.
not like Li’s first app, TagDat will goal a U.S. market, hoping to create some interest where Yelp has long gone stale. The beta is to be had within the App retailer now and that you can practice Bailey the cat at @baileyragdoll.
Startups – TechCrunch