For those Penn students who would like to expand their dietary horizons, look no further. New options are only a swipe away.
Startup mobile application Nibbly is a new destination for anyone interested in finding new restaurants that fit their tastes. Formerly known as Lettuce, the company was founded by 2013 Wharton graduate Andre Borczuk and his high school friend Andrew Hitti.
The pair recently raised $100,000 in funding with the help of Zalmi Duchman, founder of delivery website The Fresh Diet. The funds came from Duchman as well as friends and family and the Director of Entrepreneurship at Columbia University, Hitti’s alma mater. Duchman contacted Borczuk and Hitti after reading about the company online.
Nibbly is directed at audiences from around the world, especially young office workers and frequent travelers, but the app was also created with college students in mind.
“We are trying to make it really easy to become a foodie and it’s a good time to start when you’re in college and you’re in this new place,” Borczuk said.
The app’s users are not expected to be familiar with the local dining scene. In fact, Borczuk himself has never been a food expert.
“Being a new foodie, it’s kind of scary because ... you don’t know what’s good,” he said.
Many Penn students feel the same way when they first come to Philadelphia and don’t know where to eat.
“As a transfer student to Penn, I was originally unsure of the food options in and around University City,” Colleen DiStefano, a College sophomore said. “After I downloaded [Nibbly], I quickly learned that there were various options available to me.”
Borczuk and Hitti believe that Nibbly’s mobile-friendly presentation makes the application stand out from other, more generic food review websites such as Yelp. “If you’re on a desktop computer, [Yelp] makes perfect sense, but on a phone it’s really not great,” Borczuk said.
Nibbly’s clean layout allows users to access information about restaurants easily on smart phones and tablets.
“As a foodie, I’m always looking to try new restaurants,” DiStefano said. “Once I discovered [Nibbly], I was excited to explore new places to eat at based on what I was in the mood for.”
The app also connects users with similar interests, serving as a form of social media. The software allows for the creation of taste profiles based on the user’s price range, location and favorite types of food.
Its layout is similar to those of popular dating sites such as Tinder. Users swipe restaurants right or left based on the information they are given about the restaurant, including menu, hours and reviews, among other things. A swipe to the right indicates an interest in the restaurant.
“The user interface is super similar to an app I’m so ... familiar with, Tinder, which has really allowed me to parse through restaurants efficiently and find some great spots I don’t think I would have come across otherwise,” College junior Nick Zaza said. “For any Tinder enthusiast like myself, this app is a complete right swipe.”
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