• 09.18.12

Ship First And Ask Questions Later: How Fondu Made Its Mobile App More Tasty

After discovering that gourmands don’t want algorithm-generated restaurant recommendations, CEO Gauri Manglik created a Twitter for food instead.

No one cares where their cell phone thinks they should eat dinner.


Too bad Gauri Manglik only learned that after spending a year developing SpotOn, a mobile app that provided people with personalized restaurant recommendations using data generated by Foursquare. The people who used the app snubbed its suggestions. They did, however, log on regularly to check out reviews from friends and post their own.

So, less than a month after realizing that people were primarily using the product’s secondary social features, she relaunched the app as Fondu, a Twitter-like network for 175 character “bite-size” food reviews. “We took way too long to get it in front of users” and incorporate their feedback, Manglik says.

She wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. After tweaking the new app based on comments from about 100 beta customers, she started marketing it to the general public. A month later, she had thousands of users all over the world. But Manglik has no plans to let the product stagnate. “If our users tell us they want to use it in a different way, we would definitely consider pivoting again,” she said. “It’s all about building something that people want.”

About the author

Simone Baribeau is a freelance writer based in Miami, Florida. She has written for Bloomberg News, the Financial Times and the business sections of the Washington Post and the Christian Science Monitor.