ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – A new wrinkle on restaurant review websites has launched nationwide and will be adding new services by the end of the month.
The site, http://myfab5.com, is the brain child of a team of University of Michigan graduates and students.
The co-founders are Omeid Seirafi-Pour, a 2011 bachelor of business administration graduate, and Calvin Schemanski, a 2012 bachelor of business administration graduate.
Since we last checked in on myfab5, the company has recruited a “technical co-founder,” John Gulbronson, another UM grad, and UM student and software expert Prateek Sachdeva.
The company also won $15,000 at this summer’s Detroit Technology Showcase, a pitch competition.
Myfab5 was founded on the idea that the detailed information now on most restaurant review Web sites is, well, too detailed, and takes too long to wade through. Sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor also tend to rate most places between three and five stars, Seirafi-Pouir said, making it hard to find the really good places and avoid the bad ones.
So what does Myfab5.com offer instead? It asks users to rank their top five restaurants in any food style, in any town. A search for pizza places in Ann Arbor, for instance, turns up the five most popular restaurants for pizza. They also show what other categories each restaurant is ranked highly in. Thus, a person looking at the list of best pizza restaurants can distinguish between the #1 pizza place that’s also ranked highly for deep dish pizza and cheesy bread from the #3 pizza place that’s ranked highly for organic food and a family friendly environment. On Yelp, that kind of granular information could only be found by taking the time to read a bunch of individual reviews, but on myfab5 that information is presented immediately.
The company also added an iPhone app in January, and will add an Android app by the end of the year.
“The feedback so far has been really good,” Seirafi-Pour said. “People like the idea of rankings and short comments, instead of ratings and long reviews. And now people are giving us feedback and suggesting new features.”
Which, like any good entrepreneur, the folks at myfab5 are adding. By the end of the month, the site will also add top-ranked items on individual restaurant menus, as well as personalized recommendations based on personal behavior on the site.
The company has been funded by the founders and small grants from TechArb and TechTown so far. Eventually, Seirafi-Pour said, the company will look to raise money, “at the right time, from the right people.”
Myfab5 is also in the hunt for two employees, a designer and a software developer.
Overall, Seirafi-Pour said his biggest surprise was how much help he’s received from the state of Michigan and local agencies.
“Coming from Chicago, with a relatively decent economy, they aren’t doing nearly as much as Michigan to get entrepreneurship going,” he said. “I was completely shocked at what Michigan is doing. The state of Michigan is going out of its way to support entrepreneurship. If anybody has ever thought about starting a business, now is a time, this is the place. Talk to Ann Arbor Spark, talk to Tech Town, there’s funding, there’s mentorship, advice, grants, loans.”