N-LIO Interview Translation — The World’s First Restaurant Review SNS “SynchroLife” (Part 1)
Earlier this May, SynchroLife’s founder and CEO Tomochika Kamiya was interviewed by the Japanese startup and entrepreneur news site N-LIO! In this exclusive interview, Tomochika talks about the history of SynchroLife, current goals and challenges, and other behind-the-scenes stories. We’ve translated it into English for any of our English speaking supporters who may be interested — check it out!
Thank you again to N-LIO for this great interview and detailed article on SynchroLife!
You can read the original article in Japanese here: https://n-lio.com/synchrolife-1/
N-LIO — May 8, 2019
When dining out, what websites or other media do you use to discover good restaurants? Perhaps some of you have experienced the disappointment of a restaurant reviewed highly online not quite living up to the hype when you tried it for yourself.
For today’s interview, we visited the food social media service “SynchroLife” who are trying to solve this problem by helping users find delicious restaurants through unedited real reviews and experiences. At the 2018 Plug and Play Batch 1 EXPO, SynchroLife received the most audience votes and won the EXPO Winner title as well as the PnPJ Award for Japanese startup most likely to be successful overseas. I went to speak with Tomochika Kamiya, the founder and CEO of GINKAN, the managing company behind SynchroLife.
First, please tell us about your product.
GINKAN, Inc. is a 4 year old startup creating a new token economy using blockchain technology. Although we are based in Asia, our concept is only to create products that can be used globally.
As for our service, SynchroLife is the world’s first restaurant review social media platform that monetizes user restaurant reviews by rewarding them with blockchain based token rewards. SynchroLife is designed so it doesn’t matter where users post from, whether it’s Japan, South Korea, or Hong Kong, they’re all connected together in the same platform and can find the best restaurants for them. It’s social and global in a way similar to Instagram.
Our active beta version already has over 190,000 restaurant reviews from users, over 460,000 restaurant photos, and is growing steadily as a restaurant review social media platform. SynchroLife has users in 82 countries, and the mobile app is currently avaliable in over 152 countries in 4 languages (Japanese, English, Korean, and Chinese).
What inspired you to create SynchroLife?
The number one inspiration for SynchroLife was that I personally love to eat and wanted to be able to find good restaurants easily. If you think about it, you typically only eat two big meals a day (lunch and dinner) and only eat out maybe five times a week. You don’t want to waste those precious meals. Japan has a lot of amazing restaurants, and even if you’re a foodie like me there’s still bound to be hidden gems around every corner. If I’m going out to eat I want to use that opportunity to try a new great restaurant, but I don’t have the time or the ability to search and find a new place every time. Despite all the restaurant search and discovery services avaliable, this dilemma has remained unchanged for years.
There’s actually one specific incident that lead me to create SynchroLife — so here’s a little story. I was looking for Japanese BBQ yakiniku for dinner in Ginza one day, and after browsing a famous restaurant site I found a place that looked good with a 3.8/5 star average review. But when I went it was horrible, and I couldn’t believe they had a 3.8 star average. Overtime I forgot about that experience and a year later I found myself in Ginza looking for yakiniku again, and guess what? After searching online I found the same highly reviewed restaurant and made the mistake of going again. It was just as bad as before, and I experienced first hand just how unreliable and nontransparent the review system is on traditional restaurant review services. I started thinking about how a system could be created that allowed for users to hear real voices, like social media, and that’s how SynchroLife was born.
What problems does SynchroLife solve for users?
SynchroLife was made to solve problems for both users and restaurants. Users want to be able to find delicious restaurants easily. Using traditional search services, users struggle with information overload and unclear rankings that mean finding a good restaurant takes time. SynchroLife solves this by recommending users the most popular restaurants on our social media platform.
For restaurants, high advertising costs to get new and returning customers is a major problem. SynchroLife allows restaurants to drastically lower their advertising costs while still attracting new and returning customers. The business model is based on users earning token incentives cashback from their dining bill, and this allows us to optimize advertising for restaurants and keep costs lower than traditional advertising models.
When it comes to finding the best restaurants, your AI solution seems like more than enough. What made you think to include blockchain technology too?
In order to make finding the best restaurants a reality, the first step is that we need lots of delicious photos and quality reviews of restaurants. The content on SynchroLife is made by a segment of really core users, we’ve seen that 19% of our total users actually post reviews. So we wanted to create a platform where it was fun for users to post their original reviews and content. When considering how we could grow globally, there’s one thing that amateur restaurant reviewers online have in common worldwide — they’re posting reviews as a hobby. We believed a decentralized blockchain based reward system to offer the restaurant reviewers an incentive for their content matched our vision, so we decided to use blockchain technology.
Moving forward, we want to build a community of restaurant reviewers worldwide, and because blockchain technology was perfect — it allows us to distribute rewards to wallets without borders.
Regarding rewards, there are rewards for users that actually post restaurant reviews and additionally users can also earn 1%+ of their total dining bill in cashback rewards when they dine at an official SynchroLife participating restaurant. Both of these rewards are just token incentives. SynchroLife is not based only on these rewards, and doesn’t distribute them to every user that posts. Core users who are loyal to the platform and post high quality reviews earn rewards. So it is not a blanket reward, but something given to users who contribute quality content and actions to the SynchroLife community by posting useful reviews or dining at participating restaurants.
In the future, the token rewards will be usable as payment at restaurants and we’re looking at ways to build liquidity and value for the token. We’re aiming for a truly global restaurant platform that allows quality restaurant reviewers to earn a little for their content like freelancers.
To be continued…
In part 1 we discussed what kind of service SynchroLife is, what inspired it, what problems it solves, and how and why they chose to use blockchain technology. This interview will be continued in part 2, which includes discussion on SynchroLife’s target, goals, and challenges moving forward.
Thanks again to the staff of N-LIO for this great interview and detailed article!
We’ll be posting a translation of part 2 soon, and in the meantime you can check out the original Japanese article here: https://n-lio.com/synchrolife-1/
Please visit the following links to learn more about SynchroLife! 📲
Official Website: https://synchrolife.org
White paper: https://synchrolife.org/whitepaper.html
SynchroLife Mobile App:
iOS App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id557532449
Android Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.co.synchrolife
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