It’s Good is entering crowded territory, but reviews have been operating the same way for years, so maybe it’s time for a change.
John Legend is a founder of a startup building what it says is an “invite-only” social media app for restaurant reviews.
The app is meant to help users save a list of their favorite places and those they want to visit, as well as share those lists with friends and followers. There’s also a focus on viewing recommendations from celebrities, and the startup says the app will do away with the traditional star-based rating.
It’s Good was founded in 2021 and is based in Los Angeles.
Legend spoke about the app, which is his first tech startup, on Monday during the Tech Live conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal.
“It’s actually not even built for negative comments,” Legend said during the event. “Either you recommend it or you don’t.”
Venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners has invested $5 million to lead a pre-seed round of funding for the startup, announced in a blog post late last week by Lightspeed partner Nicole Quinn.
“Over the past few years, we have started relying on the opinions of strangers on Yelp, Trip Advisor or Google Reviews,” Quinn stated in the post. “These strangers may not have similar taste to us, may not give authentic reviews… and may even be a bot. Instead of following thousands of strangers, why not follow the few people whose taste you most respect and admire?”
The It’s Good CEO is Mike Rosenthal, a director and photographer. Product and design leadership includes Meghan Raab, formerly of Snapchat, and Kevin Auerbach, formerly of Apple.
The app is in a limited beta stage and taking waitlist submissions. Users so far include actress Jessica Alba, restaurateur David Chang, NBA player Harrison Barnes, travel writers, and restaurant critics, according to the post.
Lightspeed has a history of investing in consumer brands backed by celebrities: Goop (Gwyneth Paltrow), Haus Labs (Lady Gaga), Autograph (Tom Brady), and The Honest Company (Jessica Alba).
There’s a saturated market in the travel tech sector of apps for restaurant reviews. Anchored by the leaders in that sector — Google, Yelp, and Tripadvisor — there are many more consumer apps popping up as entrepreneurs seek to modernize online reviews and recommendations, particularly by utilizing the latest advancements in AI. (Atmosfy, for example, raised $12 million in August for an app for leaving video reviews of dining and nightlife.)
So, the app will certainly have competition.
Quinn believes that the founding team’s celebrity should help.
“Being associated with a Hollywood power couple who boast a combined 50 million followers on Instagram brings immediate visibility to It’s Good, lending it a cachet other social startups struggle to match,” she stated.