Ginkan, the Tokyo-based company behind restaurant discovery and review app SynchroLife, announced yesterday that it had raised a $2.6 million Series A round of funding (hat tip to beincrypto). This round was led by MTG Ventures, and brings Ginkan’s total amount of funding to $3.7 million.
SynchroLife bills itself as a restaurant review platform that combines AI with cryptocurrency. Users that post “high-quality” restaurant reviews and information are rewarded with SynchroCoin (SYC), the platform’s own cryptocurrency. Restaurants can also be on the platform to offer SynchroCoin-based coupons. On its website, Ginkan says its token system will eventually be used as payment at restaurants.
Beincrypto writes that SynchroLife already has more than 210,000 reviews of 100,000 different restaurants. The company uses this growing database of reviews as the basis of its AI to make restaurant recommendations. The SynchroLife app is available in 155 countries and in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.
Restaurant reviewing has definitely gotten more difficult over the past few months, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced dining rooms to close. To adapt, last week SynchroLife expanded its restaurant recommendation and review platform to takeout meals.
There is definitely an opportunity for a new restaurant review platform to capture eaters’ attention. Longtime social reviews site, Yelp, had to lay off 1,000 employees and furlough another 1,100 in April as restaurants across the country shuttered. Google, on the other hand, has been building up its own restaurant discovery tools. Last year Google Maps started surfacing popular dishes in restaurant search results.
Regardless, with fresh capital in the bank, SynchroLife can expand and see if cryptocurrency rewards are enough to carve out its own niche to attract and keep restaurant reviewers on its platform.