The Bestest choice: UB startup app makes for easier decision making
When Lalit Goel’s wife went shopping for glasses, she tried on dozens of pairs. All she wanted was to poll her friends to see which pair they thought looked best.
That’s when Goel came up with the Bestest app.
The Bestest app allows users to survey different groups of people on different topics. Goel, serial entrepreneur and UB Alum, founded Bestest with the idea of creating a mobile app to get data and opinions from people to make both the simplest and hardest decisions, from which shoes to buy to which company logo is more publicly appealing. The company started testing the app in September at UB and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Goel wants to make opinion research available to anyone with a smartphone.
“We think this app is anywhere, anytime, with anyone. You can poll your friends, your family, voters or anyone.” Goel said. “It has a lot of different utility for everyone. We like to call it, for lack of better words, Instagram of polling.”
Goel, along with Kelly Helmuth, chief operating officer for Ledgemoor Group LLC and Georgetown graduate, is currently working out of UB’s Technology Incubator located at Baird Research Park on Sweet Home Road.
Goel and Helmuth are marketing to smaller demographics, like UB, to grow and edit the app as needed.
When Goel researched other applications, he found nothing that offers an open interface to ask large or small groups opinion-based questions.
Bestest offers functionality that is similar to Twitter or Facebook, but then goes steps further with specific demographic polling, and photo and text polling
“Polling on Twitter and Facebook are so scarcely used and largely because of the groups, or lack thereof. I think the key is the groups,” Helmuth said. “If I’m looking for a software recommendation, I don’t want to poll everyone I know or in the universe. I care about the opinion of the people that are in that space or professionals. [Bestest] gives context to polling, rather than polling everyone at once.”
Users can create small groups or poll all of their followers for answers.
For example, if a student in a club on campus wants to go out to eat with the members of the club, but doesn’t know where, that student could poll that specific group on Bestest to see where they want to go to eat.
In another case a student that is looking to change their profile picture could poll a large demographic to see which photo should be their new profile picture.
The app limits the user to only four pictures per poll and four text options per poll. To cast a vote, users click and hold on the item they wish to vote on. Votes can also be changed once they are cast.
Currently, Bestest allows users to see who voted on which items, but there will soon be an anonymous function for polling as well.
Cynthia Shore, UB’s senior assistant dean of Alumni Engagement & External Relations, is meeting with Bestest next week.
“Being able to query students and alumni using a cool new technology on anything from study abroad options to perceptions of the school, while simultaneous helping an alumni-owned startup is practically irresistible,” Shore said.
The allure of being able to get public opinion offers both an entertainment front for any organization and also a great utility for businesses looking to do marketing research and collect data on products.
“In the future, we will be advertising primary market research to everyone. Right now it’s the exclusive companies that have put together focus groups, so in the future you’ll be able to make specific psychographic and demographic polls,” Helmuth said. “[Bestest] is all about making better decisions for your life and in the case of the University making data driven decisions.”
Bestest will be doing a special press release once they reach 10,000 downloads. The application is currently available in the App Store and on Google Play.
Evan Grisley is the features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org