Start-Up: Jybe Personalizes Recommendations for Your Tastes

The Redwood City start-up company gives users specific information on what may appeal to them, including what dishes to try at what restaurants.

Like many Bay Area entrepreneurs, Jybe’s co-founders Tim Converse and Arnab Bhattacharjee bonded over foosball. Both Converse and Bhattacharjee came to Silicon Valley during the height of the internet bubble and worked at Yahoo on making an effective search engine.

Most people, some unknowingly, have a great deal of information about themselves circulated throughout the internet, compiled from information posted on social media sites as well as from the topics they search for. As a result, people have begun to expect a browsing experience that is more tailored to their interests.

“Personalization is becoming a big deal,” said Bhattacharjee at Jybe’s Redwood City office, shared among six full-time employees.

But Jybe takes personalization one step further.

Users of Jybe’s Smart Phone application enter a small piece of information about their interests by ‘liking’ or ‘disliking’ certain things. For example, in the restaurant category, one can ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ over a dozen different types of cuisine and setting. As a result, someone who professed a like for Barbeque would not only receive recommendations for a local barbeque place, but may also receive recommendations about another restaurant featuring a barbeque dish.

Jybe can track your location, so the recommendations you receive are automatically sorted by distance from your location.

Jybe also integrates with Facebook and Google Plus, making it easier to share information with friends on your interests, and also take into account friends’ interests when participating in an activity with them. For example, if two friends were going to see a movie and one expressed a love for drama and action films while another expressed love for drama and comedies, Jybe would likely recommend drama films that suit both tastes.

As of now, the company has gone through two rounds of funding, and is supplied with cash to last them until past the end of 2012.

Converse describes Jybe’s niche as “giving fast decisions with some of the quality of the slow decisions.” That is to say, most people spend hours researching big ticket items such as cars, but no time whatsoever researching smaller matters such as what dish to order at a restaurant.

By making such information easily available on a smart phone application, Converse and Bhattacharjee are hoping to give people the tools to make researched decisions even on small matters.


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