True believer puts money where his mouth is

Enterprise 30 Aug POST

 

Recently I downloaded an app called Roamz.

As regular readers will know, I’ve been doing a fair bit of travelling lately so one day I find myself in South Melbourne, some days back in Sydney, other times in Prahran, and then back to the Yarra Valley in Victoria. I’m not that familiar with any of these places so I’m often at a bit of a loss about where to go and what to do.

I downloaded Roamz to see whether it would be useful in pointing to interesting things in the surrounding areas. It does this by pulling in other people’s comments, recommendations and checkins on various social sharing sites on the web (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on).

Even in the small Victorian town of Healesville, I’ve discovered some places that I wouldn’t have previously. Anyhow, I wanted to find out more about the entrepreneur behind the app, who just happens to be Australian. His name is Jonathan Barouch and his journey is the subject of this week’s Enterprise post. I hope you enjoy it!

You’ve got to believe in your business idea to invest $200,000 of your own money into it. You’ve got to be ready for pressure from investors when you convince them to put $3.5 million into creating your idea. And you’ve got to have a workaholic personality that loves the idea of answering emails or taking calls in the middle of the night.
That’s the case for Jonathan Barouch, CEO and founder of Roamz.com, a location-based app that shows you what’s going on around you based on what other people are saying on social sharing sites like Facebook, Foursquare or Twitter. Fox News named Roamz.com as one of the top five alternatives to the ubiquitous Facebook.

It’s an idea that was born shortly after Jonathan, 30, had his first child. “Every Saturday morning, my wife and I would wake up and think ‘What will we do today?’” says Barouch. “You could pick up the paper and google what was happening nearby but there wasn’t really a way to see what local people were talking about. With social media I could see content was being shared – on Twitter, Instagram and so on – but that content was very fragmented across different social media.”

Barouch’s application centralises that data so if you’re walking along a street in South Melbourne on a Monday morning, the app will recognise your location and suggest places you might like to get your morning coffee on the way to work. Alternatively, if you’re in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, it will suggest wineries you might like to try. All these suggestions are based on what other people have shared about that place, along with their pictures and comments.

You can read the rest of the post here.

About Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo is founder and national director of the Australian Writers' Centre, the country's leading centre for writing courses. She is a journalist, blogger and author. Her latest book is "Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business" (Wiley). Valerie is co-founder of SocialCallout.com and is an investor and mentor to startups and businesses in Australia.