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Tom Limongello, Truffle

Founder: Tom Limongello, CEO

Company: Truffle

Employees: 1-9

Stage: Self-funded


Truffle is a free mobile app that allows you to connect with friends to get trusted restaurant recommendations. If Yelp is for everybody and Zagat is for critics, Truffle is for friends.

About Tom Limongello

Tom is firmly entrenched in the mobile space, having held senior business development, marketing and product management roles at Crisp Media. He is now leading the launch of Truffle, a mobile app that allows friends to share and discover the restaurants they love. Prior to entering the startup world, Tom worked as a consumer products analyst at Unilever.

How do you go about finding tools and services for Truffle?

We really allow people to use the tools they already know. Once we know what someone wants, we go and talk to the actual company about it. Some of these providers are surprisingly transparent about their products. We were told multiple times that we just weren’t right for a product, and we got a lot of help from the companies themselves.

What is your philosophy on selecting tools and services?

Don’t be afraid to try a cheaper service, or use no service at all. There’s no penalty for getting something wrong and switching services, unless you pick a really expensive option. You might think you want to use the most professional service for each category, but eventually you realize that no product is perfect. Get your small needs met first by cheaper, lighter-weight products and then don’t be afraid to switch.

When should a founder opt for a more expensive tool over a cheap tool?

In the beginning, make cost your deciding factor for tools that don’t contribute to your product. Payroll, for instance, isn’t product-critical. Slack is generally free, and very useful for collaboration, so it may make more sense for you to spend money on project management software, especially if you need ticketing services to help show progress against development goals and bugs.

What are your thoughts on using tools that are themselves startups, as opposed to choosing more established services?

It’s really important to me to try new tools. I also try to use products that come out of startups if I can. If a startup’s product is missing a major feature, I’ll default to the major service, but I find that startups often focus on newer challenges and are more relevant for companies who bring new products to life.

Are there any tools that you’re especially passionate about?

I’m really more of a mobile guy than a desktop guy. Here are some of my favorites:

DocSend: Great for sending presentations, as it gives you the same sort of analytics and notifications as Streak.

Scanner Pro: If someone needs me to fax something, I can just take a photo and fax it in the app. It’s also useful for taking user flow screenshots because I can create a PDF out of multiple photos.

Hemingway App: When I’m writing, I use this to make sure that I break down my long sentences in a way others can read.-imoji: I love this custom service for emojis, and it’s even better if you use it with the Fleksy keyboard.

Feedly & Reeder: I still use RSS for news, even though I use Twitter and newsletters like CB Insights, Mattermark and apps like Nuzzel.

-Hours: I used this for keeping track of projects when I was consulting. I think it’s kind of silly to track in real-time, but just checking into or out of a project is very useful on a monthly basis because you can export each project you’ve touched each day. If you look back at your calendar, Hours helps remind you of things you may have missed, and it makes it easy to itemize invoices.

-Synchronize: I use this for international calls. It will likely be a native feature in the Apple Watch OS2, but right now it has all the cities in the world and lets you see the time in each city. I used to work with people in China a lot, and that’s useful for me because I would get tripped up over the time difference.

You’re still in the very early stages. Are there any categories of tools that you haven’t gotten around to selecting yet?

-HR administration software: We’re too early for it, but once we’re the right size, we’ll look into Justworks and TriNet. We talked with Zenefits and they told us we weren’t big enough to get the most out of them.

-BI/analytics platform: We haven’t started with them yet, but we’ve decided to go with Flurry for metrics and Fabric for user management. We’ve chosen Flurry to start with because between Google Analytics and Flurry, Flurry has better customization for mobile. If your developers know how to use it, Flurry can be quite powerful. We are also considering a server-side Mixpanel integration, rather than the SDK, for enabling the rest of the team to make sense of cohort behavior post-launch.

-Credit card processor: We have interest in running events, so we will most likely go with Stripe and Apple Pay for in-app purchases.

-Customer service software: We’ve heard good things about Intercom, but we haven’t started to use it, and will likely be very hands-on with communications at launch.

-Recruiting software: The people on our team are highly networked, so we haven’t yet maxed out all of our resources in that department.

Follow Tom and Truffle here: @TomLimongello@heytruffle

Want to learn what tools Truffle is using?

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