When you’re looking for a good restaurant or a good mobile app, who do you trust to make a recommendation – strangers or your closest friends?
A relatively new startup based in Portland, Ore., is betting your most meaningful recommendations come from your friends. Today, the company announced the public release of its free Facebook app for iPhone users who want to see which apps their friends use and like.
It’s kind of like Facebook meets Yelp meets the App Store. The founders of Mobspot – Justin Heikkinen and Benjamin Jacobsen – say they wanted to solve the problem of mobile app discovery and make it personal and relevant. Rather than making users spend time scouring the App Store to find one app their friend recommended two weeks ago, the system they’ve created will show the top apps based on friend usage and rating. Of course, the service works best when users invite their friends to use it, so the more who join, the better it works.
The Mobspot app already has been in beta for some time and the founders received feedback that helped them refine it. One iPhone user, Ed Palumbo, based in Philadelphia, Pa., was an early tester and he’s quoted in a press release saying he loves Mobspot because it’s easy and benefits his friends directly – he rated 164 apps in 10 minutes.
Founded in 2009, Mobspot launched at SXSW as one of the BizSpark Accelerator companies. Heikkinen is a Silicon Valley and startup veteran of Claria and GameStrata, the latter of which was sold to GameFly in 2008. Jacobsen most recently led global marketing for Opera Software ASA.
The company also has a development office in San Jose, Calif. The Facebook app is at http://apps.facebook.com/mobspot.