Superb 1.2 Available Now!

Remember that BBQ joint you just read about? Or that trail you’ve been meaning to hike? We know it’s difficult to keep track of all the must-visit places in your life, which is why we created Superb.

With the latest update, you can simply swipe to add and organize all the places you want to go. Here’s what’s new:

  • You can now create lists and easily add places to it by swiping
  • You can now search for places you have collected
  • More options for filtering and sorting have been added to places you have added
  • New navigation layout that exposes the apps three main actions for quick access: Add places, keep track of places and explore places


So, what’re you waiting for?

Download Superb 1.2 in the App Store today

New and Improved: Superb 1.1

image

After a few months in beta and tons of your feedback, we’re officially launching the new and improved Superb, the intent-based social networking app that lets you share your favorite spots, browse cool places around you, and connect with friends over a shared desire to experience places. Thanks to feedback from users like you, the app now has:

  • Optimized Design. We reworked the flow, layout and overall finish, so the app is easier to use.
  • Categories & Search. We’ve introduced categories for an easier browsing experience, and created a search feature for when you need to find a specific place.
  • Updated Swipe Functionality. We’re still all about swipes, but now, you swipe right to mark places to do, swipe left to tell us you’re not into a place, and use the center button at the bottom to tell us where you’ve been.
  • Places in Common & Conversations. Now, when you mark a place as to do, Superb shows you which of your friends also want to try that place. From there, you can start a conversation with friends to make plans to go check it out.

Altogether, these changes make for a whole new experience, but don’t just take our word for it…

Download Superb 1.1 in the App Store

You’re gonna love what we’ve done with the place.

Cheers,

Superb Team

Our Story

We have always been passionate in our belief that technology and social media should serve to enhance your life offline, not draw you away from it. Grubwithus was founded with this intention, but due to certain limitations, we never felt like we were fully accomplishing this goal on a broad scale.

So we studied what was working and what was holding us back and we quickly noticed that while specific meals have their limitations (date, time, place, cuisine, theme, etc.), the aspirational aspect of trying a new restaurant does not. Users were compiling restaurant wishlists on their profile pages, and others were chiming in saying they’ve been and what they thought. Suddenly these “wishlists” were to-do lists that people were checking off place by place.

We surveyed the tech landscape and realized that no one was tapping into the concept of intent graphs, and we had our “aha!” moment and got right to work.

The result is Superb: a mobile app that allows you to collect the places you want to go, catalogue the best places you’ve been, and shows you places you have in common with friends. The app is location-based, and it goes way beyond food. From restaurants to street art, live music venues to hiking trails, Superb elevates the best spots around you based on overall community popularity.

Superb’s simplicity is what makes it addicting. Users swipe right to mark places to do, swipe left to mark places they are not interested in and tap the center button to mark that they have already been to a place. If a user is interested in a place, Superb unveils others who are also interested, highlighting friends at the top for quick access to message them through the Superb Conversation feature.

The world is Superb when you get out there and experience it! Download the app today: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/superb/id747302884?mt=8

Our Pre-Y Combinator Interview Experience, Day 1

It’s good to be back in San Francisco! We fled the Chicago cold and landed in 70 degree sunshine. Our Y Combinator interview is on Saturday morning, but we’ve lined up a bunch of meetings with YC alumni as well as Grubwithus dinners with YC alumni, so that we can be as prepared as possible for the notoriously intense interview. Our Saturday morning time slot also gives us ample time to relax as we travel to Berkeley and watch Cal beat Stanfurd in the Big Game (that might be asking for too much, but us Cal alums gotta believe)!!

Back to our day, our first stop was a visit to Justin.tv to meet Justin Kan. Justin was the first YC alum we ever spoke with a couple years ago, when he emphatically recommended YC, and still does today. Their offices are pretty much what I envisioned from a San Francisco tech company. Lots of random desks, tons of computers thrown on top, a bunch of couches and lots of people way smarter than me. We got there at lunchtime, which meant free catered food for us poor startup kids!

After the initial pleasantries and meeting a few of the employees, it was time to hammer away with questions. We talked a little about the interview process, why some YC companies don’t make it (answer: they give up), and about Grubwithus. Talking about your company to YC alums is probably the best way to prepare for your interview. They’ve been through the hot seat, know what PG & Co. think and care about, and therefore act as mock-interviewers.

I spoke about our company, how the meals have been so far, and about a few new use cases for our product that we learned about from our users after we launched. That was Justin’s “aha” moment. We’ll be launching this new use case in a couple months, but when we told him about the idea, he said, “Tell Paul I’d definitely use Grubwithus for that.”

After the meeting, we went to Coffee Bean for a furious coding session before our Grubwithus dinner at La Briciola. Among the grubbers tonight included four YC interviewees, one of which interviewed on Monday and got in (congrats again!), a startup advisor, and someone from an early stage venture fund. While we ate awesome Italian food, the four YC interviewees told everyone else at the table about their companies and got lots of comments and advice from everyone else. It was pretty easy for me to describe Grubwithus, since they were at a Grubwithus dinner… frankly, I think it’s going to be super hard for YC to decide who gets in, because all of the interviewees at the dinner were awesome and are doing crazy things with their companies.

The highlight of the night was from Daniel Ha of Disqus doing great Paul Graham impersonations. He nailed the gazing into the sky, right index finger pointed, “I have an idea” moments PG frequently has. The key takeaway from the night was to know your product and know your competitors. The interview panel is going to make sure you know everything about your product and have thought about a ton of different avenues you can take your company. They’re also going to grill you on your competitors and make sure you’ve done your homework about who else is in the space and why your company can do it better than they can.

In the end, it was a great night and I’m glad I got to meet a bunch of new friends. If you’re in San Francisco this week and want to hang out with a bunch of YC and tech people, we have three dinners left this week and have a few more spots open!

This story was originally posted on Grubwithus’ blog (now Superb).

Our Path to the Magical Y Combinator Whiteboard

YC has been a ton of fun and work, and things seem all rosy from the outside, but launching your company at Y Combinator is no joke. There is a certain rite of passage that every YC company must take, and it’s called “The Whiteboard Conversation.” It’s one of the most exciting times in a soon-to-be-hatched company’s life, but you must pass the gatekeeper to get there, and his name is Paul Graham. This is the tale of our journey to The Whiteboard. Read on if you dare.

It all started back in November when Grubwithus got an interview spot in YC’s Winter 2011 class. As cocky as it sounds, we honestly thought that if we got the chance to interview, we wouldn’t have a problem sweet talking our way in. To guarantee we got in, however, we knew we had to do something to ‘wow’ the judges before our interview. Since Grubwithus brings people together over food, we hatched an ingenious plan (or so we thought). Most interviewees would no doubt contact a bunch of YC alumni for interview questions and tips, so why don’t we reduce their burden by hosting a series of dinners where a consolidated group of YC hopefuls can speak to a few YC founders over a great meal? Brilliant!

We went to work right away. Daishin set up all the San Francisco restaurants and I contacted the YC founders. Y Combinator has a ‘pay-it-forward’ mantra and it really showed. A bunch of YC alumni got back to me instantly, saying they’d love to come and help out. They were probably also really excited that we were offering them free dinners…

After we set everything up, I posted on Hacker News with a title similar to “Grub with YC Alumni during interview week” and linked to our site. Immediately the post was getting upvotes and we were hitting the front page. It was probably my second post to HN ever, and it was feeling real good. A few people instantly reserved seats and we thought we were golden. How could YC reject us if we were clearly showing that we built something people wanted?

And then my biggest fear happened. 43 minutes after I posted, my post got killed. I didn’t think I was doing anything harmful, but I didn’t want to anger the HN Gods by posting again before our interview, so I asked some of the YC alumni for advice. The general consensus was to email pg and ask him about it. That was something I really, really didn’t want to do. I imagined pg doing something very important while seeing my pesky email and getting annoyed that this wannabe YC guy is bothering him with a tiny HN matter. We definitely weren’t so cocky about getting into YC anymore…

A little while later, pg thankfully responds with “It sounded like it was somehow sponsored by YC.” Okay, no problem. I’ll just post again and make sure people know it’s not YC sponsored. So I quickly repost, only to see my link gain no traction and slowly disappear into the abyss. Not one upvote. Not to be dismayed, I didn’t want to spam HN by posting the same exact link again, so I wrote a blog post with a juicy title and linked to Grubwithus from the blog post. Surely I could get people to click into the blog entry and check out the meals from there! Still no action. I was still reminiscing about the early success of that first blog post, but there was no giving up at this point.

We thought of other crafty means of getting the word out, and we remembered that a bunch of the interviewees had put their twitter handles in a private YC spreadsheet (NOTE: DO NOT DO WHAT WE ARE ABOUT TO TELL YOU! BAD BAD BAD!). So naturally we thought, hey, we have everyone’s twitter handles, let’s tweet them and tell them we’re setting up meals for the interviewees! I mass tweeted a bunch of people, and while most of them were pretty receptive, I totally forgot that other candidates still had jobs and didn’t want employers/friends to know they were interviewing. Bad! A few unhappy emails later, we deleted all the tweets and were back at square one. Sometimes being too scrappy has its downside…

We resorted to tweeting random people who were talking about YC and trying out the Diggs and Reddits of the world with limited success. Our first dinner was coming up and we knew we didn’t have too many more chances to post on HN before being the first invited company in history that pg refuses to interview. I posted to Hacker News one more time, and it still didn’t make a dent. The one thing I was learning, however, was that there are certain times of the day that HN gets a ton of new links posted onto the site, so unless you’re posting a super compelling story, definitely avoid those times or else your story will be wiped off the front page of the ‘new’ section super quickly.

Little did I know, that behind the scenes, Paul and Jessica were already a little unhappy with “The Grubs”, as pg now calls us. Jessica wasn’t too happy that we were pimping out these YC dinners and we weren’t even part of the organization, while pg thought the dinners might be fake. We found out from a YC alum at one of our dinners, that pg actually emailed everyone in YC and asked if we were for real and if the YC alumni actually agreed to go to these dinners. Another note to future applications, definitely do something before the interview to wow people and show that you can execute, but maybe don’t do anything to irk the partners deciding your fate. At least one thing was for sure: they would definitely remember us when we actually interviewed.

Finally, it was our time to interview. We were a little nervous, but we had comfort in knowing that at least they knew what our company did by now! We actually had a really fun interview and one of the people in the room actually went to one of our pre-interview dinners. Of course, the topic of our YC-dinners came up and we apologized for causing problems. They were still smiling though, and pg said, “It’s okay, you’re not the first company to overstep their bounds.” We finished our interview, chest bumped a few times, and got our acceptance call that night.

People frequently ask us about our pre-interview tactics and our journey to the White Board. The problem is, while pg outwardly disapproved of our actions, we know he secretly loves founders that push the limits. So our advice is: be naughty enough to get your goal accomplished, but retreat if necessary and make sure you apologize!

This story was originally posted on Grubwithus’ blog (now Superb).

The Value of the YC Network (Pre-YC Interview, Day 2)

People say the value of Y Combinator is the network. We heard this a bunch of times, but what does that mean really? We asked this to question all the YC alums we’ve met and it was hard for them to put the network effect into words, but things ranged from “help with complex problems we didn’t know how to fix” to “instant credibility and access to Techcrunch.”
And then we experienced it firsthand.

We’re still lowly YC hopefuls, but by our continued pestering of these YC alums to attend our Grubwithus meals, we’ve reached some small bond with each other. It was yesterday morning and I see a random number from Ohio calling me. Random numbers from Ohio are usually bad (telemarketers, debt collectors, evil ex-girlfriends, etc.) so I naturally ignore it. After checking my voicemail, it turned out to be Pete from Optimizely (who is coming to tonight’s dinner) asking me to call him back.

Through some sort of magical awesomeness, Pete was speaking with Steven Levy of Wired (he’s kind of a big deal) and Grubwithus came up. Apparently Steven was interested in coming to our dinner last night, so Pete introduced us to Steven. The problem was that our meal was already sold out, but like any self-unrespecting, media-starved startup founder would do, we made it happen. We called Miss Saigon and told them to find a way to add a 13th person to the table. As a comical side note, the owner’s response was, “Okay, let me go buy some more groceries then.” They must run a very lean startup there…

The dinner was a ton of fun and there was a ton of food. I thought 13 fully grown men could easily take down all the food in front of us, but food defeated man yesterday. Tim from Mixpanel and Antonio from AdGrok told us more about their YC experiences and we met even more interviewees doing awesome things. Steven Levy is doing a huge piece on Y Combinator and startups and he made sure to speak with everyone at the meal. I must’ve asked him five times, “You’re going to write about this Grubwithus dinner right?”

Steven said he would definitely write about it and we’re eager to see the piece when it comes out in a few months. That, my friends, is the value of the Y Combinator network.

This story was originally posted on Grubwithus’ blog (now Superb).

How We Got Eight Awesome Y Combinator Alums to Grubwithus

So, we got an interview for the Y Combinator Winter 2011 class. Yeah!! (Read the footers if you have no idea what YC is.) After our very mini celebration, we knew there was a lot to do for us to actually get into the program. First order of business: Speak with YC Alumni to get the inside scoop about YC and tips about the interview process. Daishin and I love public speaking and are unfortunately too used to people grilling us, but hey, might as well be prepared, right?

I went off and emailed the ONE YC founder I had met for all of five minutes over a year ago and asked for a meeting. You don’t get to meet too many YC guys living in LA and currently in Chicago. We went back and forth with scheduling for a few days and I think I finally wore him down to submission. Thanks Justin, see you soon! =)

We didn’t think cold-emailing random YC founders for one-on-one meetings was a super efficient way for them to spend their time, so we thought, “Hey, Grubwithus builds friendships over family-style meals, so why not invite a few of them to dinner and have them speak to a bunch of people?”

Genius! The problem was that we had a very short timeframe to pull this off and we didn’t have any code to support ‘themed’ meals or expansion to new cities. Never deterred, we coded furiously at the 24-hour Starbucks, while Daishin called a bunch of restaurants in San Francisco and I started emailing a bunch of YC founders. (Side Note: If we do end up getting funding from YCombinator, one of our first purchases is going to be a fax machine, because most restauranteurs are still old school and utilize fax for everything.)

I was at first hesitant about emailing the big-dog YC alums. You know, the ones you read about on Techcrunch all the time and are adored by the YC partners. I thought about it for like 30 seconds, but quickly realized that I was pretty used to rejection and just had to go for it. What’s funny is that the people who I thought wouldn’t even respond were the ones that were most excited and helpful! Sam Altman couldn’t go, but he gave us the best rejection present ever. Sachin couldn’t make it the week of the meals, but was totally excited about it and told us to let him know the next time we held them. While there were all these complements, the forecast on the meals started to look a little dreary. YC Founders are very busy people, and a bunch of the people we asked were in the UK, flying to New York, had dinner plans the whole week, etc.

The restaurants were even harder to pitch, since we’re in Chicago and they’re in San Francisco. We couldn’t physically walk into the restaurant, so we had to try to convey the Grubwithus message over phone and email. If you’ve ever tried to pitch a new consumer web startup to a restaurant owner that still has an @aol.com email address, you know our pain. Good thing Daishin has refined his restaurant pitch so well that he defeated the restaurant gatekeepers and secured four great restaurants for us.

And then, all of a sudden Dan from Disqus was in for Tuesday, Nov 16th! Jude from HeyZap responded with a yes for Thursday, Nov 18th! Ryan from DailyBooth was a no, but asked a bunch of his friends and that brought us Tim from Mixpanel for Wednesday, Nov 17th! Greg from Wakemate could do Friday, but only if it was slightly earlier (because of Wakemate’s highly competitive beer pong tournament), so we moved the meal! We rounded out the meals with awesome guys like Pete from Optimizely, Arun from Wakemate, Rod from ReadyForZero and Antonio from AdGrok.

All said, we were able to get eight YC founders (two per meal) to come out during YC interview week to grub with us. So if you’re in San Francisco the week of Nov 15th and have ever wanted to talk to some YC founders about their Y Combinator experience, come out and join us for some good food and new friends!

So back to how we got all these guys to come out? All we had to do is be brave enough to ask… thanks again to all the YC founders we spoke with! We’ll grub with a bunch of you next week!

**YCombinator provides seed-stage mentorship and funding for tech startups. Twice a year we invest a small amount of money (average $18k) in a large number of startups. The startups move to Silicon Valley for 3 months, during which we work intensively with them to get the company into the best possible shape and refine their pitch to investors. Each cycle culminates in Demo Day, when the startups present to a large audience of investors. But YC doesn’t end on Demo Day. We and the YC alumni network continue to help founders for the life of their company, and beyond.

This story was originally posted on Grubwithus’ blog (now Superb).