Neustar is proud to shine a spotlight on one of our newest distribution partners who is revolutionizing the world of local search with a new social media platform. The Envy mobile app is the world’s first visual search and review platform to help consumers find products and services. It combines the aesthetic appeal of Instagram, the rich content of Yelp and the simple swipe action of Tinder to deliver a whole new local search experience.
Envy is changing the way consumers search for businesses, while giving businesses a whole new way to connect with consumers. Users swipe through images to find things they want or need (based on their location preference) and then click to call the business, map the location, book an appointment, view the website, read and post reviews or save their #envy. Envy is changing the way consumers find the things they love - swipe right if you love it, left if you don’t. It’s that easy.
In less than six months since it launched, Envy was chosen as a finalist in the SXSW Accelerator competition. “SXSW Accelerator has hosted some of the most innovative startups over the eight years we’ve held our competition,” said Chris Valentine, SXSW Accelerator Event Producer. “These companies have gone on to capture the attention of investors and leading technology companies worldwide - 71% have received funding in excess of $3.1 billion, while 14% were acquired. Out of hundreds of applicants, we identified 50 finalists to present. Everyone with SXSW Accelerator is proud to support startups that are on the forefront of solving some of today’s biggest challenges through technology.”
Being selected as a finalist in this elite competition was no small feat for Envy. Other participants in this category had been in development and use for over three years and had funding in the millions. “We got in despite being so young. They really saw the value in what we are trying to do,” said Jennifer Cosco, co-creator of Envy. Jennifer, a young, driven entrepreneur and successful business owner within the fitness industry, co-founded Envy with Christopher Nebel, a seasoned digital and brand strategist who created breakthrough social and digital content and solutions for brands like Sony, Land Rover, Nike, W Hotels, Mattel, Kraft, ESPN and Herman Miller.
Starting with Focus
Eventually users will be able to search for anything and everything through Envy, but the team at Envy started with a few key categories such as Food, Beverage, Hair, Nails and Tattoos that are perfect for visual search. “Salon owners are loving this! Finally, there is a platform that shows what they are good at,” said Cosco. “Our focus right now is on visual businesses, but just for now. We are going to incorporate videos and other cool ways to review services that aren’t necessarily “visual” businesses. We really just want to prove our process, which is why we are only launching in San Diego and Austin with these five initial categories.”
Another area the Envy team has focused on is the importance of customer reviews. One complaint business owners have about sites like Yelp, is that their clients are unlikely to go on the site to post a review about their business. Only 5% of Yelp users contribute, the rest just search. With the ease and appeal of Envy, more users are posting reviews more often and that number is growing each week.
With a startup budget, the Envy team knew they had to be smart with efforts to get the word out. They targeted social media users who had 3,000 - 5,000 followers and signed them on as ambassadors to work directly with local businesses. The ambassadors and businesses get their content posted on Envy and on these social influencers Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts. “It’s been a really good partnership with the ambassadors that’s created stronger relationships with the businesses,” said Cosco.
Providing Unique Value
One of the most unique and appealing benefits that sets Envy apart from other social platforms is the businesses information and details are integrated in the app to help the consumer to get to know the business. “A lot of people get frustrated using a site like Pinterest because it’s not an actionable item,” said Cosco. “With Envy, everything you see is palpable, everything you see you can get. That’s where Neustar Localeze comes in by bringing that business information directly to the user. When they see a review, they can take action - tap to buy, link to the website, map it, call, order, make an appointment, and even schedule their Uber right there.”
Neustar Localeze provides the most trusted business identity management service that powers the top search platforms, social networking sites, mobile apps and navigation systems. Our proprietary, continuous optimization process includes rigorous data cleansing, verification, normalization, organization and synonym mapping to provide accurate, timely and relevant business information that is distributed to the largest local search platform network in the industry. As the leader in Connection Science, Neustar helps clients grow and guard their businesses with the most complete understanding of how to connect people, places and things.
What Cosco and her team are doing in this space is truly transformative. We can’t wait to see how far Envy reaches and how it changes the mobile search space.