Former Meridian cofounders have a new pursuit: Vota

Unless you’ve been around the Portland startup community for a while, you may not remember Meridian. Even if you have been around a while, the name might not immediately ring a bell. But it should. Because from my perspective, it was one of the more successful startup exits in Portland. Not in total value, but definitely in multiples returned to investors and the speed at which that investment was returned.

So when I heard the cofounders of Meridian were working on something new, I was excited to see what they were building. And now it’s out in the wild. Meet Vota.

Vota helps you discover the world with the people you trust. It’s your private network so you can get personalized recommendations. By relying on credit card swipes, share what you are up to with your closest friends and family without having to do anything. Simply go and explore.

Sound interesting? Well you know you’re not going to get a subjective review from me. I’m inherently biased with Rose City colored glasses. But you could go read a piece from a former coworker of mine, Sarah Perez, who has been tracking mobile apps since… well, since mobile apps.

What does Sarah have to say?

There is, arguably, value in seeing a cleaned-up, pretty feed of users’ check-ins. Foursquare’s Swarm does this with some success, for example, as it’s a way of keeping up with friends, and learning about cool places to visit in a sort of indirect way.

But linking a credit card and automating the process will likely give users pause, especially at a time when our personal data has been slurped up repeatedly for unscrupulous reasons. To get regular folks to try an app like this, they’ll need a better reason than it being a “useful journal of transactions” or a way to explore what friends are doing.

But perhaps the best part she highlights? It can help you spot credit card fraud. And that’s a super interesting use case. With future features that will be designed help you better manage personal finance.

Again, the small but intriguing fintech cluster here in Portland gets more and more intriguing by the day.

For more information or to get the app, visit Vota.

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