November 15, 2014
Sometimes looks can be deceiving, especially in the restaurant business. Have you ever been into a restaurant that outwardly appears clean, only to find it filthy once you’re too far invested in the meal? You can feel your skin crawling, the carpet looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in years, and suddenly there’s a sharp and unpleasant odor in the air. I, absolutely, have found myself in that precise scenario, and I wish HDScores had existed then.
It’s a platform built as a comprehensive search and recommendation engine that uses restaurant inspection data from different jurisdictions across the US. Users can search for restaurants by name, location, and inspection scores before saving all of their favorite clean, or dirty, establishments. It also opens the doors for a lot of social activity, specifically sharing of restaurants’ inspection scores. It’s no surprise the founder, Matthew Eierman, spent a decade in the depths of the culinary world before switching to the tech entrepreneur’s life.
“FoodTech has been hot as an industry, but it’s been mostly focused on delivery, ordering, and product companies,” says Eierman. “There are very few new FoodTech, big data companies.”
Alongside Sanford Richardson, CFO, and Matt Fleischer, COO, HDScores was boostrapped from the ground up, which as we all know can be a bit of a longer path. But rare is the entrepreneurial road devoid of potholes, speed bumps, and barriers.
The team has remained motivated on their journey by constantly solving issues as they arise. It’s helped them with rapid builds, reflection, and iterations on their designs for the platform as they worked through alpha testing; all said, they went through five alpha prototypes. Their dedication was not without reward.
“Our alpha users are slightly addicted to our product which we see as a good sign,” says Eierman. “We think we have a pleasing design that allows users to get complex information in a format that is easy to read, search, and understand. That has not happened before in our market space.”
Eierman and the HDScores team also already have the monetization figured out for the consumer market, and they’re user base is rapidly growing: currently they have 14,800 Twitter follower sand 457 Angel List followers. The ultimate success of HDScores hinges on the power of disruption in the FoodTech market.
However, the team isn’t trying to disrupt the actual restaurant system itself. Rather, they’re working to disrupt the data surrounding the cleanliness of the restaurant industry.
“We see our self as the world’s largest data management platform for the aggregation, processing and management of publicly available data, aggregating data in near real-time,” says Eierman. “It’s tough getting government agencies to change, so we’re building something better on top of it.”
There are a lot of jurisdictions already on HDScores, so make sure to check their site to see if your area is available. It’s always worth knowing how clean the restaurant you’re eating at is, and you can do it all from your smartphone. All you need to do is ask #howcleanisit.
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