Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Recent Alumna Gauri Manglik (CAS '10) Recognized for developing a new mobile application

gaurimanglik.jpgIn January, Gauri Manglik was recognized by the NYU Entrepreneur's Network as Entrepreneur of the Month for developing Fondu. Fondu is a unique mobile app that combines and simplifies the purposes of Twitter and Yelp. It provides a platform for users to share short reviews of dining experiences with friends--so rather than sifting through a number of questionable, anonymous Yelp restaurant reviews, users can simply read a short, "tweet-sized" review from a friend or trustable source. Last week, we had the opportunity to send a few questions her way, asking more about her experience at NYU and her entrepreneurial ventures.

  What made you choose the CAS Computer Science Program for your undergraduate education?

 I actually tried a bunch of different programs (International Relations, Pre-med, and Economics!) before I settled on Computer Science. I happened to take one intro class, enjoyed it and then continued on with the program. I wasn't one of those hacker types that's been programming since birth :)

  Can you think of a specific course, professor or even a moment in class that had a profound affect on you? 

Most definitely. My last semester at NYU, I took Lawrence Lenihan's "Ready, Fire!, Aim" entrepreneurship class, which was my first exposure to startups. The great thing about it was that almost every class we had a guest lecturer who was usually some amazing entrepreneur in NYC, which was incredibly inspiring. Fondu is actually an evolution of what I was working on in that class.

  For those of us that are unfamiliar with SpotOn and Fondu, can you talk briefly about what you have been doing since graduating from CAS in 2010?

 SpotOn started out of NYU and was a personalized recommendation for restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. We gave you suggestions for places to go in the same way that Netflix gives recommendations for movies. We launched it as a Battlefield company at TechCrunch Disrupt in May 2011. After that we observed carefully how our users were behaving. We found that they cared more about rating places and seeing what their friends had rated than actually getting personalized recommendations. So we evolved SpotOn to Fondu, which is a fun, quick way to share bite-size restaurant reviews with your friends. We went live with our iPhone application just this past November. logo.png

How did you choose the name, “Fondu?”

 Fondue is social food experience. It's tasty and you usually have it on special occasions with your friends. When you say "Fondue" it usually brings about positive memories. Fondu, the app, is all about sharing food experiences with your friends. It's also short and easy to spell and remember.

  Your Fondu bio states that you “like to eat real food.” As the CEO of a food-review app, how do you judge a meal?

 By "real food" I really mean natural, unprocessed food. My favorite restaurants are those where the meals taste healthy and home made.

  Do you have any favorite places to eat in the Village?

 If I'm by NYU, I like going to KuKu Canteen.

  What do you think of apps like Scoutmob and Foursquare, which share Fondu’s connection with NYC’s restaurant scene?

 They're both great! We actually use Foursquare places database. It was our love for apps like Foursquare that got us to start building a company in this space.

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