There are a lot of restaurant-recommendation services — by our count 29 — that want to help you find the right restaurant or dish. They generally break down by those that display user reviews and those that offer personalized recommendations.
Ness launched about a year ago with a “personal search engine” serving up the best restaurants for you. More that just a way to aggregate user reviews, the application takes a data-driven recommendation approach combining signals from user’s social networks with their own preferences to make personalized recommendations about where to eat. Yesterday, it announced a $15 million round of Series B funding to take its core technology and apply it to other verticals like events, movies or shopping.
Personalized mobile commerce, bringing personal recommendations and deals to mobile devices, has a rosy future and may represent a growing gap between user-review sites like Yelp and services like Ness. The funding round was led by SingTel Innov8 with participation from American Express Ventures.
“American Express is impressed by Ness’ vision to create great products that better serve consumers,” said Harshul Sanghi, Managing Partner, American Express Ventures. “As Ness evolves and the commerce landscape changes, we believe their preference-based search engine has the potential to deliver differentiated value to merchants and consumers alike.”
Ness is only available on iOS but has plans to expand to Android devices. The latest update incorporates restaurant reservations (via OpenTable) and menus (via SinglePlatform).
When it comes to the different methods of restaurant recommendations, it will be interesting to see if one star rises while the other fades (and if so, how quickly).