We had the good fortune of connecting with Sydney Wuttunee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sydney, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
My husband and I were on one of the most beautiful beaches in world, in Vietnam, on our honeymoon. White sand stretched into crystal clear turquoise water, not a cloud in site – it was a perfect day in a perfect place. But we were totally taken out of the moment, absorbed in planning the next.
We were trying to pick our next hotel.
What was available on yelp, tripadvisor, google was just as overwhelming as it was unhelpful. Anonymous ratings from the masses. The opinions of people we had no connection to and no way of qualifying who they were or what their taste was.
Taste, and the experience of loving somewhere, is so personal – but every review site is premised on the same rating system that crowns a place ‘best’ for having the most top ratings.
On Facebook and Instagram we could ask but ultimately had no control who was responding. Off the top of our heads, we couldn’t remember who we knew had been to Vietnam to ask directly.
What we really needed was a platform where we could see who we knew had recommendations in a specific place. It was at that moment we decided to set out to build it ourselves. SeekPeak – a sneak peek at the little book of favourites of friends, experts and tastemakers. Recommendations for those seeking peak experiences, descending travellers such as ourselves.
What should our readers know about your business?
Unlike existing review sites, SeekPeak is a positive referral network that serves the discerning. Access to tasteful recommendations from people you know, admire and trust; undiluted by mass ratings. Like a Yelp for the creative class, the sophisticated, the experienced. Those who want to know the cool, independent spots. The places loved by experts, tastemakers and people like yourself. Crisp and design forward, it’s like perusing Goop but with an entire network of recommendations instead of a handful from a select few.
We’re proud to be a trusted source for tasteful recommendations. With many using SeekPeak to research and plan for their upcoming trips, we’re excited to be a part of people’s best experiences. Further, we’re proud to help businesses put their best foot forward and free them of the grief of negative reviews (94% of consumers say a bad review has convinced them to avoid a business).
Nothing worth doing is easy. It’s challenging to enter the tech space and show investors how you’re different. It take a lot of confidence in yourself and the project. What’s been a nice balance to that is the genuine excitement and appreciation users and businesses have for us. We’re had enthusiastic users from the start, who not only believed in our platform but genuinely love using it (their words, not ours). Some people already consider us their “favourite app”. This helps with the late nights and long days that go into building and launching an app.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
With a week we’d have time to check out all my favourite areas, but you’d need months to fit in all my favourite places to eat, drink and hang out.
For a home base, I’d suggest they stay at the Four Seasons at Beverly Hills. One of my favourite hotels in the world. Chic, sophisticated with unmatched hospitality. The pool is a perfect sanctuary above the bustle of LA and I’d recommend setting aside a day to lay around and enjoy al the hotel has to offer. Get a facial with renowned facialist Georgia Louise (currently operating out of a pop-up in the Four Seasons spa), enjoy the LA sun poolside and then wrap up your day with a cozy dinner outside at Culina (the hotel restaurant).
With some rnr under your belt and a killer glow (thanks Georgia), set out the next morning for a fitness class at nearby Natural Pilates West Hollywood. Wander the cute independent shops in the area. Hit up OK store for their quirky gift and book selection. Then head over to Gracias Madre for unreal organic plant based Mexican and a margarita. I’d then check out the Griffith Observatory and take an urban hike of the park area. Reservations are required far in advance, but if you can get in stop for a snack and drink at the world famous Chateau Marmont. Walk from here to the Comedy Store and take in an comedy show. Afterwards I’d recommend staying on the classic vibe and head to Craigs for a drink and proper dinner. If you’re feeling wild, stop at Jumbo’s Clown Room before calling a night (or morning.)
Okay – I’m sure it’s obvious to you now why I felt compelled to start a recommendation app. Sort of my love language. I’ll stop planning day-by-day and just go over my highlights…
Bar stella in Silverlake. Amazing French. Live bands on their covered patio. Super lively vibe and top notch food. You’ll feel transported to France for the night.
Bacari (also in Silverlake). Fantastic atmosphere, menu and cocktails.
de Maroc – exclusive collection of rare vintage Moroccan wool rugs handcrafted by the country’s finest artisans. This is another plan-way-in-advance, and really just if you happen to be in the market for a beautiful, rare, rug investment. They host you in their studio, with Moroccan food, tea and some one-on-one time with the rugs. One-of-a-kind experience if you’re in town to visit but also in the market for a one-of-a-kind forever piece for your home.
If you’ve taken me up on the advice to stay at the Four Seasons BH – walk over to il Pastaio. Ask to sit in Nino’s section. Order whatever he suggests and end the meal with a limoncello. Wander the fantastic shops and designer boutiques after.
While you’re in Beverly Hills, drop into the Palm for a drink at the bar and meet some Beverly Hills locals.
Checkout the studios of Jonathan Entler and Cooper Reynolds Gross (side-by-side). Two visionary designers and builders. From here keep going to Frog Town to check out the latest favoured neighbourhood of LA’s creatives.
Make the drive to Santa Monica and have a drink in the incredible Santa Monica Proper designed by Kelly Wearstler. From there head to Malibu. En route, drop into Vintage Grocers for snacks and wine to enjoy on the beach. Catch a sunset on Zuma beach.
Other must’s in no particular order….Kumquat coffee, Boy Smells, the Grant, the LACMA, the Broad, Kelly Wearstler (her shop), The RealReal, Pace.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband and co-founder, Jason, for his support in my full-time commitment to the wild ride that SeekPeak has been (commenced in the first moth of my pregnancy with our second child, none-the-less) and unwavering belief in my ideas and leadership driven SeekPeak. My babies for their patience in their mum working so much and always being happy to see me at the end of the day.
Our advisors Ayden Athwal and Gareth Lewis for their dedication and advice in all things growth, strategy and business.
Our amazing SeekPeak community of early adopters and “super users” for their enthusiasm and contributions.
And at the risk of speaking past my welcome (a la a dreaded Oscar speech), my parents for getting me through the first stages of life nearly unscathed, the volunteer baby-sitting shifts, and support of me through the various growth stages of my entrepreneurship.
Other: Connect with me on SeekPeak; Sydney Wuttunee.