The dining and restaurant industry in South Korea is huge with a variety of options for consumers. This Korean startup has launched an app, MangoPlate, that helps people discover the best of Korean restaurants and Korean food. MangoPlate is similar to Yelp, recommending restaurants and services in the dining industry.
Eat, review and share
The MangoPlate app can be downloaded on Apple or Android phones easily. The app currently has access to an extensive database of over 200,000 restaurants in South Korea which is updated daily to include the hottest new places to eat. Users can find and give recommendations, add reviews and pictures, find new restaurants, and go through guides compiled by editors and power bloggers. The app has ratings for food places out of 5 and mostly any restaurant above 3.5 rating is a safe recommendation to go to. MangoPlate’s search engine finds the right places for users through personalised information provided by the user. Each time a user reviews a restaurant or adds it to their ‘wish list’, MangoPlate configures the date to recommend new similar restaurants.
MangoPlate has been integrated with Facebook Login, which means it is easier to sign up and create an account on the app. People who sign up with Facebook or KakaoTalk can also share the reviews and restaurant ratings with friends and family. Interestingly, MangoPlate has seen a 35% increase in time spent by people who sign in through Facebook Login as they were able to connect with their friends and share about restaurant experiences. People who signed in via Facebook Login also had a 17% higher retention rate compared to other login processes.
From spreadsheet to mobile phones
The startup was founded by four young entrepreneurs – Joon Oh, Bernard Kim, Danny Ryu, and Michael Roh, who started the company through a crowdsourced spreadsheet, mainly involving family and friends. The spreadsheet soon became very popular and the group had to build an app to sustain the information. Eventually, MangoPlate got a boost from SparkLabs accelerator. The startup got two seed round funds worth $1.4 million from SparkLabs and SoftBank Korea. MangoPlate also got a series A funding of US $6.1 million from Qualcomm Ventures, SoftBank Ventures Korea and YJ Capital.
The MangoPlate founders saw the opportunity of growth when the South Korean government shut down the popular restaurant discovery app WingSpoon in 2014. This led to MangoPlate going fully commercial. Now, the app is the most popular app for restaurant recommendations and reviews in South Korea.