THE Super Bowl is this Sunday at 1pm and a local team is guaranteed to win. Well actually it’s NYC’s version of the Super Bowl, whereby both teams have firmly established by Week 7 their inability to make the play-offs, so this will be the highlight of their seasons. Worse, neither team is actually from New York – Let’s Go Jersey! What’s left for us on this side of the river, on this side of the island? In addition to a slew of building updates, which at this point have become ubiquitous in LIC, we bring you another local business story.
This one’s a start-up, founded by a local, who’s created an app for and targeted towards Long Island City. The creator has written the story below, and though we don’t normally like to give plugs, on occasion we can be a little partial towards the hometown team. Plus I recently paid $875 to get my fridge fixed, and know there’s a huge dispersion in pricing and quality which local info sharing might help mitigate. So with that as an intro…
Meet Your Neighbor: Qrew Inc. – LIC-based startup transforming the service professional search market for Parents!
Raise your hand if you have sought recommendations for service providers on social media, WhatsApp groups, or Slack channels before.
Izzet Can Akkus (Can), a Wharton Grad entrepreneur living in LIC for over 12 years, has experienced the difficulties of finding good and trusted service professionals for his family of four. Online reviews were unreliable (~30% estimated to be fake or paid), asking recommendations on social media and waiting for a response was inefficient (in most cases, those responses come from strangers), and calling/texting all your friends and other parents was not feasible (because you don’t even know who knows who!).
The network-based recommendation platform matches parents with service professionals hired and loved by people in their network.
When he realized this was a problem he partnered up with long time designer friend Ufuk Keskin and together they started “Qrew” (which is a derivative of “crew” and represents “team”). According to Can, the solution is simple: nobody can be successful alone, and every life event (getting married, having a baby, adopting a pet, buying a house, etc.) needs a team. Everybody accumulates this team of service professionals they love and trust in time, when they need a particular service, that person is their first choice – My nanny, hair stylist, dentist, dog walker, etc. He decided to capture this trust relationship and make it visible to others in need. For instance, when a mom needs help – say a “Family Photographer for Christmas” – she performs a search, and the platform displays experts who are trusted and loved by others they know. It is like instantly receiving recommendations from your network (friends, family, fellow parents, etc.). Can says they are starting the business for LIC parents because they love to give back and share resources. Why parents? Because it takes a village to raise a kid, and parents need the most help.
Qrew is also great for service professionals too. We have seen how much the local businesses struggled to get the word out with their changed business hours, processes, and schedules during the pandemic. LIC business owners have been highly active in social media groups because all the other communication channels were non-existent. And, let’s be honest, promoting and not promoting your business on social media groups is a delicate balance because of moderator rules.
However, Qrew is built for service professional matchmaking. It is a free digital word-of-mouth and sales lead. Happy customers will become promoters when they add the professional to their team. Service professionals will be visible to their network once in someone’s team. A job well done will be rewarded with more work from the customer’s network without any advertisement. Professionals can also promote business or simply keep in touch with customers via direct communication or by creating relevant content on the platform. Best part is, there are no stars or reviews – just good old relationships.
Relationships are like good wine. Unlike reviews, they get more valuable with time.
Qrew is a Wharton Venture Lab start-up and part of the Google for Start-ups Community. It is in beta and free in the Apple and Android stores. Check it out and join the LIC Parents community to collaborate with other LIC parents.
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