Backing the Vision of Transparent Professional Reputation
Unvarnished unveiled itself as Honestly.com. Peter Kazanjy with co-founders Jason Heidema and Danis Dayanov knew they were hedging their bets when they founded a online resource for building, managing, and researching professional reputation, using community-contributed, professional reviews. Users can create or claim their profile, request reviews from colleagues and respond to comments. Honestly.com is unlike other reputation sites such as Angie’s List and Yelp whose performance in platform for reviews and consumer research may be encouraged by social network astro turfers. It is not to say that there has been quite a buzz about the potential up and coming. Legality concerning defamation has arisen in April when the LA Time’s Business section weighted in on the business and culture of our digital lives. And I would be remiss to state that in the same month that the company was showcased in a CBS news segment.
Notwithstanding all the clamor and press, the community network site also can say today that seed funding came by the way of First Round Capital, Charles River Ventures, and Ron Conway’s SV Angel, along with a number of individual angels, like Joshua Schachter, Travis Kalanick, and Richard Chen. The $1.2m in funding will be used to grow the engineering team and accelerate product development.
Josh Kopelman, founding partner at First Round Capital, was especially interested in the idea of bringing transparent, portable reputation to bear in the larger business professional market.
Josh has extensive experience and familiarity with both the intricacies and power of reputation in helping guide important decisions, reward excellence, and encourage improvement. From his founding of Half.com, and later time at eBay, where he saw firsthand the importance of community feedback in differentiating and rewarding good behavior by participants, to his time at spam killing company TurnTide which heavily relies on concepts of reputation to determine safe and unsafe email senders, to his time as a venture capitalist, Josh’s experiences and skills are a strong complement to the company’s goals. Josh is taking a seat on Honestly.com’s board.
Saar Gur, Partner at Charles River Ventures, in addition to sharing Josh’s experience as a venture capitalist and entrepreneur whose reputation heavily impacts his success and colors his decisions about others he comes into contact with, also has a unique blend of real world experience to bring to bear. Saar has seen the power of community feedback both as the owner of offline businesses in the form of organic frozen yogurt shops Fraiche–subject to community feedback and review on Yelp–but also as a hiring manager as an entrepreneur. And with his involvement in CRV’s investments in both Twitter and Blippy, Saar has seen firsthand the power in tools that accelerate information transparency. Saar sponsored CRV’s investment in Honestly.com.
Peter explains that the company has witnessed the value a platform for honest, candid professional peer review can provide to reviewers, review readers, and reviewees alike. To help extend that value to the broader professional community, while maintaining the many strong safeguards we have in place to ensure professional and productive behavior on the site, Honestly.com is welcoming in the broader professional community, to share their opinions, read others’, and claim and build their own profiles, if they choose.
In addition to our existing, and continually evolving company moderation, community moderation, and algorithmic moderation tools, we still require Facebook Connect to validate the “humanness” of reviewers, along with their age as being 21+.
Based on the professional, honest, and nuanced review content that has been contributed by the community over the past six month, the founders are confident that now is the right time to take this next step.
About the investors:
First Round Capital
A venture capital firm that primarily makes early round investments; they play an active role in the operations of most the companies they invest in.
Charles River Ventures
Founded in 1970, Charles River Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund that takes a value-added, hands-on approach to support its portfolio companies.
Charles River Ventures is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful early-stage venture capital firms with approximately $2.1 billion under management. CRV is dedicated to helping exceptional entrepreneurs turn their ideas into the next category leaders in high growth technology and media sectors. Since its founding in 1970, CRV funds have been ranked among the industry’s top performers. CRV has offices in Boston, MA and Menlo Park, CA. For more information, visit www.crv.com.
Ron Conway’s SV Angel
Ron Conway’sSV Angel is an angel venture fund founded by Ron Conway and David Lee. These two Silicon Valley are no stranger to new technology landscape. Ron Conway is considered the “Godfather of the Silicon Valley” and David Lee is a formable force in the VC world of investment.
I could tell you more on who contributed to this sought after start up, but then when a company is courting financing then i will make some discretion in my writing.