Unvarnished, the community-powered professional reputation and peer review site, has some news to share with the broader community that we’re really excited about.
In it to win it: Funding to build the team.
First, we’re proud to announce our seed funding by First Round Capital, Charles River Ventures, and Ron Conway’s SV Angel, along with a number of individual angels, like Joshua Schachter, Travis Kalanick, and Richard Chen. The $1.2m in funding will be used to grow the engineering team and accelerate product development. We’re hiring!
Come one, come all: Now welcoming the entire professional community.
Second, we’re excited to welcome to the site the broader professional community. No longer is an invite or specific company membership required to join the community to read reviews, contribute your own, or claim your own profile.
New look. New name. New chapter.
And lastly, the site is getting a brand new look and a new name: Honestly.com, which we think does a better job of communicating the intended goals of the site and how it’s been used to date–to provide honest assessments of professional performance, from real people. Plus, Honestly.com is easier to spell! (Hat tip to James Hong for inspiration.)
We’re pretty excited about these three pieces of news, and encourage one and all to come check out the new site.
More details on Honestly.com.
More details on the announcement
Funding: Backing the Vision of Transparent Professional Reputation
Honestly.com is honored by the strong backers who are validating and supporting the company’s vision, from First Round Capital, to Charles River Ventures, Ron Conway’s SV Angel, and a host of accomplished and talented angel investors.
Josh Kopelman, founding partner at First Round Capital, was especially interested in the idea of bringing transparent, portable reputation to bear in the larger business professional market. Josh has extensive experience and familiarity with both the intricacies and power of reputation in helping guide important decisions, reward excellence, and encourage improvement.
From his founding of Half.com, and later time at eBay, where he saw firsthand the importance of community feedback in differentiating and rewarding good behavior by participants, to his time at spam killing company TurnTide which heavily relies on concepts of reputation to determine safe and unsafe email senders, to his time as a venture capitalist, Josh’s experiences and skills are a strong complement to the company’s goals. Josh is taking a seat on Honestly.com’s board.
Saar Gur, Partner at Charles River Ventures, in addition to sharing Josh’s experience as a venture capitalist and entrepreneur whose reputation heavily impacts his success and colors his decisions about others he comes into contact with, also has a unique blend of real world experience to bring to bear.
Saar has seen the power of community feedback both as the owner of offline businesses in the form of organic frozen yogurt shops Fraiche–subject to community feedback and review on Yelp–but also as a hiring manager as an entrepreneur. And with his involvement in CRV’s investments in both Twitter and Blippy, Saar has seen firsthand the power in tools that accelerate information transparency. Saar sponsored CRV’s investment in Honestly.com
Both, of course, bring a long operational track record as enterpreneurs to the team as well, including much experience with the trials and tribulations of hiring, partnering, and deal making, and the associated challenges around getting the inside scoop on people you don’t know, to guide better decisions.
The Honestly.com team will use the proceeds of the investment to funding the expansion of the engineering team, and focus on building the right feature set to help Honestly.com community members easily surface honest peer reviews of fellow professionals, while ensuring that this information is professional, productive, and accurate. Openings can be seen here.
Opening the Site to the Broader Community
Honestly.com is also pleased to announce its availability to the larger professional community, and is dropping the invite-only requirement of our beta, and now welcomes the entire professional community to the site.
Initially, the only way to get on the site was to be invited on by an existing user, by them requesting a review from you. This was one of our safeguards to ensure that the community formed the proper norms to start, to better educate community members who joined later.
However, over the past six months we’ve witnessed the value a platform for honest, candid professional peer review can provide to reviewers, review readers, and reviewees alike.
To help extend that value to the broader professional community, while maintaining the many strong safeguards we have in place to ensure professional and productive behavior on the site, Honestly.com is welcoming in the broader professional community, to share their opinions, read others’, and claim and build their own profiles, if they choose.
In addition to our existing, and continually evolving company moderation, community moderation, and algorithmic moderation tools, we still require Facebook Connect to validate the “humanness” of reviewers, along with their age as being 21+.
Based on the professional, honest, and nuanced review content that has been contributed by the community over the past six month, we’re confident that now is the right time to take this next step.
Redesign and Renaming
Lastly, we’re proud to announce that the site is getting a new look, and a new name: Honestly.com. Honestly.com, we feel does a better job of communicating to current and prospective users, at a glance, the intended purpose of the site, and how the community indeed uses the site: as a place to provide and read honest, real reviews of professional performance.
Additionally, we’ve been hard at work with a fresh redesign that seeks to enhance the user experience of the site.
We thank the community for its participation in making Honestly.com the valuable, productive community resource it is, and look forward to continued effort in making online professional reputation transparent, portable, and accurate.