Back in 2011, Scott Barnett ’91SEAS and Eugene Fabrikant were commiserating about the lack of reliable ways for people to gauge the effectiveness and quality of small and local businesses. While Scott had a poor experience with a contractor and wanted to ensure others didn’t suffer the same fate, Eugene was frustrated with existing rating sites – none of which spoke to his particular sensibilities when it came to looking for the right restaurant or contractor. They decided that something had to be done, and started Bizyhood.
After launching an MVP in July 2013 and listening to both consumers and business owners, it became apparent that there was a bigger need than what they had originally intended – and that none of the larger platform solutions were adequately addressing it at the local level. Having a truly trusted and intimate experience at the community level requires a local curator who knows the area. In many smaller towns, this is covered by a local digital publisher. These local publishers write amazing content and have the trust and respect of the local community, but what they lack is the IT to offer engagement capabilities that make tech platforms such as Yelp, Foursquare and Angie’s List so popular. Bizyhood “pivoted” to create a platform that creates this IT service for local publishers.