Howzat backs blogging startup

HOWZAT has completed its third investment - of £500,000 - in London-based TrustedPlaces.com, a next generation reviews and social networking website.Hugo Burge will be taking a place on the Board of TrustedPlaces, which allows discerning urbanites to share opinions on places that they know, trust and recommend - or to flag spots to avoid.


The site is especially useful if you are new in an area, a visiting tourist or tracking down the latest cool places to be seen at.  Whether clubbing, eating out, or drinking and relaxing, TrustedPlaces.com is about finding out where other people like you, and with similar tastes, like to hang out in their leisure time.

‘Taste-matching’ is a unique functionality on TrustedPlaces.  A user is able to assess site content by easily seeing how closely their tastes are to those who created the content. This is done through a simple and fun game, the Taste Finder.  Here, new and existing users are asked to rate their preference for a number of areas such as food, drink, places and people.  This tool ensures that a new user who takes the “Taste Finder” test on the site ends up with recommendations that they can relate to.

TrustedPlaces, powered by its taste matching technology, is the closest thing to being shown around a new place by a friend from there who knows exactly what you like to eat, do or listen to.
Apart from connecting users with people they already know or making new friends that share the same interests as them, other site features include:  ‘People Who Liked This Also Liked’; ‘Cool Places Nearby’ and ‘Top Places of the Week’. These tools allow discovery of recommended places based on social and, geographical criteria and also through (with less technical wizardry) the TrustedPlaces’ ‘Editor’s special picks of the week’.
TrustedPlaces helps bring the urban landscape to life, allowing people to find and share places that have special personal appeal, character and individuality.  In short, this is a new resource to find great and recommended alternatives to the increasingly homogenous and samey chains that make cities the same the world over. TrustedPlaces is an internet word of mouth revolution…
Commenting, HOWZAT Co-founder Hugo Burge said:
“Trusted Places founding-duo, Sokratis Papfloratos (CEO) and Walid Al Saqqaf (COO) are genuine pioneers with an amazing vision of the website they are building.  Not only does TrustedPlaces let consumers share reviews and communicate but it also uses using intelligent filtering techniques to personalise the results.. TrustedPlaces.com starts to define the future direction of social networking and user generated content. It also helps you to find unusual and independent places in a landscape of increasingly similar restaurants and bars.” 
Hugo added:
“TrustedPlaces exemplifies the type of dotcom we aspire to invest in and it is an honour to be invited to join their team as an investor and as a member of their Board.  Sokratis and Walid have a passionate vision about creating a vibrant community that will share its collective knowledge about where to eat, drink and hang-out.  They have created an original website, launched only last year, on a shoestring and it is exciting to be involved in the next stage of their development. HOWZAT shares their belief in the huge potential for the site and is delighted to be involved with Trusted Places at this early stage . “

TrustedPlaces’ CEO Sokratis Papaflorator said: “Today marks a hugely important day for us. The funding allows us to press ahead with further product development, delivering a truly innovative service.  Hugo’s and Howzat’s expertise will be a tremendous help in expanding our growth and reach. Cheapflights is one of the leading online businesses in the UK, with great success at home and abroad.  In partnership, it’s a success we want to emulate - we’re all very excited about working together and taking TrustedPlaces to the next level.”
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