It all started when Janice wanted a purple couch. (Why a purple couch? We don't even ask anymore.) Turns out it's really hard to buy a purple couch locally! Janice searched and searched. You saw the results on our home page.
As we all know, it's hard to find anything local on the web – purple couches, sushi, motel rooms, a doghouse. First you get the paid ads - for national stores - then the paid nonsense. Which is supposed to be "relevant". Then, there are the unpaid links for the - yes - national stores that can afford to get high rankings in the search engines. After them, there's often a bunch more links to nonsensical sites. (And sometimes…just sometimes a local store sneaks onto page one of the search results…)
The way search works now, the local store just down the street, "Sara's Sofas," doesn't stand a chance against Ikea. Sara doesn't show up until about page 13 in search – if ever. You don't get the full range of choices you should get. And Sara gets lonely. We're sure you'll agree that that's just not okay. So we decided to fix it. How? With trovi™. (Which means "you find" in Italian.)
Here's how trovi works. You want something? Tell trovi (via your phone/tablet/computer) that you want it, where + when you want it, how much you want to pay for it + how badly you want it. We match your request to our vendor inventory and put the products/services you want right in front of you on your screen. Along with special offers, coupons, any deals those vendors want to offer.
For vendors, trovi is equally cool. How's that? Well, with trovi, if their stuff matches what you want, they show up. Equally. National brands don't magically appear above them. There are NO paid search results. The biggest store in the world can't buy their way into the rankings. The only criterion is...do they have what you want?
Now Sara's Sofas shows up on an equal basis with Ikea. Better for you. Better for Sara. (And, really, nothing for Ikea to sniff at, either.) Now local works. And local economies work better – because you can find local stuff. Which leads us to our next, important point…
trovi is here to provide a great service – find what you want, when and where you want it, for what you want to pay. But we're also here to be good. Not "not evil". Good.
Here's how we see good. We see good as local economies doing well – and right now, most of them aren't. They're cutting services, education, closing parks…you live in a community, you know this. And we think we can help. Here's how.
First, we make local search work, for local consumers…and local businesses.
Second, we share back with the communities that use trovi. Here's how that works. We work with your community to get vendors & consumers signed up. When there are enough of both, we "turn trovi on" & everyone can start using it. Immediately, we start sharing revenues with your community. We give you a "local online community" website where members can propose projects, form teams, & vote on funding them. With revenues that we share.
That feels good to us. If it feels good to you, get in touch! We want to talk with you.
Oh, there's one other way that we're good….read on…
By creating trovi we turned the web on its head, and put you - the "consumer" - in charge. For a change. In fact, for a very revolutionary change. Because when we empower you to tell the world what you want, we don't need to track you, monitor you, spy on you or generally violate your privacy – just to send you a bunch of ads you don't want. Come on. You're you – you know what you want. trovi it. Find it. Privately. Ad-lessly
You revolutionary, you.
With trovi, you're in power + very connected. Empowered. Connected. Cool.
As soon as we finish building the tech for our beta in a few months. Sign up for updates and we'll let you know when that happens.
Meanwhile, you can help. If you like the idea of taking back your web, making search work for you + local vendors, and not worrying about your privacy online… + you live around Portland, OR, or Chandler, AZ…we'd love to have you join our beta. Go ahead, sign up at the bottom of this page.
Or, if you want to let us know your brilliant idea to make trovi even better, there's this nifty little box on the contact page…
Although trovi is a growing team, the co-founding cohorts are Janice Levenhagen-Seeley + Peter Herring. So if you want to talk with us, here's who you're talking to…
Janice is a mom + computer engineer + business consultant who also likes to start projects, cook gluten-free, read sci-fi, and hang out with techie people.
She also runs a nonprofit called ChickTech, where she and her volunteers put on awesome events geared toward getting and keeping girls and women in high tech.
Peter is a dad + marketer + serial entrepreneur who also likes to hike, bike, read, write, photograph, play guitar + figure out how to do things better than they're being done.
Both of us like to find stuff on the web from time to time. Both of us have encountered frustrations trying to do this. Discussing this experience over sushi one day, we decided that the search experience really could be better. Being the type of people who prefer to create, not simply berate, we designed trovi.
To be a part of this, sign up for email alerts, join the beta, or add to the fun by telling us what you think.