How do they do this you may ask? They compile expert and user reviews and insert them into a scoring algorithm that outputs a Wize Rank – a single numerical score from 0 – 100 – that essentially uses the wisdom of crowds to alert consumers to products worthy of their attention.
Wize has raised $4million in Series A financing from the Mayfield Fund and Bessemer Venture Partners. Michael Arrington covered this news recently in a post that was headed “Four Month Old Wize Gets $4m” – a number of folk have reacted to this heading with the WOTF knee jerker that the world of venture has gone all crazy again. I mean, how could a company that’s only been going for four months get $4 million in funding. So we yoicked around a bit and soon placated ourselves that Mayfield and Bessemer hadn’t gone nuts.
Wize’s CEO, Tom Patterson, had been an Entrepreneur in Residence at Mayfield, so this start up has been cooking for a while – it’s only been on the plate for 4 months, but the recipe is a tried and tested one. I’m a big fan of EiR’s and have been successfully running such a program over at NICTA for a few years now.
According to Raj Kapoor, managing director at Mayfield, “We started working with Tom as our Entrepreneur in Residence a year ago to revolutionize the product research space and zeroed in on Wize, as they have the most compelling proposition – giving the mass market consumer the simple answer on what product to buy when confronted with dozens of reviews and guides on the Net. By bringing together a breadth of data in an intuitive interface and simplifying the decision process, Wize will funamentally change the way users research products on the Web.”
Talking with the folk at Wize, I agree with their premise that while expert reviews are ideal for letting you know how a product compares to others in its category, user reviews are better at letting you know how a product performs over the long term in the real world.
Competition includes ViewScore, Nextag, Thefind and Shopping. Nothing wrong with a bit of healthy competition. It will be interesting to see how the space pans out as consumers oscillate between the comfort zone of a generic search and honing in on the right products based on collective knowledge of what works in various product categories. More power to the consumer!