Wilmette, Winnetka businessmen develop word-of-mouth referral app for Facebook
Chris Pauly and Brian Piggot created eMazeMe, a facebook app to help users find trusted local businesses based on recommendations from their friends, while helping businesses grow. | Jackie Pilossoph~for Sun-Times Media
400 Central Ave., Northfield
Updated: March 5, 2013 12:18PM
Looking for a new hair salon? Trying to find a good restaurant for Saturday night? Does your house need painting and you don’t know who to call? Two North Shore business men and close friends just launched a business that might be able to help.
Chris Pauly and Brian Pigott created eMazeMe, a Facebook app to find trusted local businesses based on recommendations from their friends, while helping businesses grow.
“At the end of the day, what people really want to be able to do is to find and organize and share locally trusted providers with their friends,” said Pauly, who lives in Wilmette with his wife and two children, and who works in business development for a North Shore company. “We don’t think there’s an effective way to do that on the Internet, so there’s an untapped market here.”
Pauly and Pigott met 20 years ago in high school at New Trier, and for years, Pauly has been bouncing business ideas off his friend.
“Chris is the idea guy,” said Pigott, who works at his Northfield-based family business, One Way Solutions, and who lives in Northfield with his wife and three children. “He told me about this and I thought it was a great concept. The idea had legs and it clicked, and I felt like it was something we could actually do well with.”
Here’s how eMazeMe works. The user signs up for an account, which takes less than a minute, Pauly said. The user can then add businesses they like to their directory, and then share those businesses with their Facebook friends.
In addition, users can request recommendations or share other’s recommendations with friends.
“You’re putting all your providers in one spot, so you have your own directory of your most trusted businesses,” said Pigott, who holds a B.S. in manufacturing engineering and an M.B.A. in finance. “You get to see reviews from your friends instead of random people.”
“Today, there is no good way to do what we’re doing,” said Pauly. “You’re saving people time, and you create a trusted network.”
eMazeMe also helps businesses, because they are getting the benefit of word of mouth advertising. Pauly, who holds a law degree and an MBA in strategy and marketing said they plan on adding a feature where if the user adds a certain company to their directory, the company gets a notice and can send the user a coupon or a special offer.
Also in eMazeMe’s future: selling ad space where businesses would have special placement on a page. The business would also receive data analytics, so they could learn how often users are adding them to their directories, how much the business is being shared amongst users, or why users might be deleting the business from their directory.
“I love building things and creating things,” said Pauly, “I have spent the last decade trying to figure out something to build and I think this is it.”
To learn more, or to use the eMazeMe app, visit: www.eMazeMe.com.