John Legend App to Counter Negative Google and Yelp Reviews

Skift Take

“That’s Good” is entering crowded territory, but reviews have been working the same way for years, so maybe it’s time for a change.

— Justin Dawes

John Legend is the founder of a startup that he says is an “invite-only” social media app for restaurant reviews.

The app is designed to help users save a list of their favorite places and places they want to visit, and share these lists with friends and followers. There is also a focus on celebrity viewing recommendations, and the startup says the app will do away with traditional star ratings.

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 Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference.

“He’s not really even made 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 in the startup’s pre-seed funding round, Lightspeed partner Nicole Quinn announced in a blog post late last week.

“Over the past few years, we’ve come to rely on the opinions of strangers on Yelp, Trip Advisor or Google Reviews,” Quinn said in the post. “These strangers may not have similar tastes to us, may not provide reliable reviews… and may even be bots. Instead of following thousands of strangers, why not follow those few people whose taste you respect and admire the most?

The CEO of It’s Good is Mike Rosenthal, a director and photographer. Product and design leaders include Megan Raab, formerly of Snapchat, and Kevin Auerbach, formerly of Apple.

The app is in limited beta testing and is accepting applications for a waitlist. According to the post, current users include actress Jessica Alba, restaurateur David Chang, NBA player Harrison Barnes, travel writers and restaurant critics.

Lightspeed has a history of investing in celebrity-backed consumer brands: Goop (Gwyneth Paltrow), Haus Labs (Lady Gaga), Autograph (Tom Brady) and The Honest Company (Jessica Alba).

There is a saturated market for restaurant review apps in the travel tech sector. Thanks to sector leaders Google, Yelp and Tripadvisor, many more consumer apps are emerging as entrepreneurs look to modernize online reviews and recommendations, particularly by leveraging the latest advances in artificial intelligence. (Atmosfy, for example, raised $12 million in August for an app for video reviewing restaurants and nightclubs.)

So the app will definitely have competition.

Quinn believes the celebrity founding team should help.

“Being associated with a Hollywood power couple who boast 50 million Instagram followers gives It’s Good immediate visibility, giving it a prestige that other social startups struggle to match,” she said.

Photo credit: Mike Rosenthal (left) and John Legend of It’s Good.

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