The Most Relevant Movies for You? Foundd It!

By David Knight |

“You don’t actively want to search; you’re doing a search because you want to find something, so it should be called a find engine.” Lasse Clausen has that look in his eyes, the one founders get when they build up a head of steam about their product. For Lasse, that means changing the face of how we discover entertainment content.

He is co-founder and CEO of the appropriately-named Foundd which is launching out of private beta today. It provides personalized movie recommendations based on user ratings, helping groups of people find a film they can all agree on.

The service works by having users rate a number of films they have seen, until it is able to create a watchlist for recommended movies. You can also have group watchlists to help avoid those arguments about who wants to watch what.

Lasse told Silicon Allee: “Foundd started with the fact I hate TV; I’ve never watched TV, I’ve always watched movies online. But it really is a pain to find them. There is no smooth, efficient mechanism that automates the whole process.”

With the general trend towards on-demand content and away from things like scheduled TV, people are now faced with an almost unlimited choice. For those who know what content they want to consume, traditional search engines like Google usually provide the answer. But Foundd wants to tap into the second kind of market – those looking for mood-based choices and not something specific.

“The discovery process is fun,” he added, “you don’t just want to be told, ‘read this book’ or ‘watch this film.’ You still want to discover it. But the idea with Foundd, the underlying principle of the product, is to always filter relevance. You’re still going to browse, but in a more limited selection.”

A group watch list screenshot

While the service will launch based around films, there are plans to extend this to other content like films, TV series, Internet videos, apps, ebooks and games, across all devices. Lasse said: “The vision with Foundd is to be THE discovery engine for entertainment; one centralised entry point that knows you, that filters out all the irrelevant things.”

With TV, according to Lasse, people are conditioned to make reactive rather than proactive choices: Saying no to choices we’re presented with until we see one we like. That’s why Foundd is a mechanism that gives the user something: “Ratings are really rich info. They don’t just tell you what you’ve seen or not, but also how much you like something. It’s qualitative information, which I think is the most valuable.”

Lasse readily admits there are already services which cover parts of the recommendation and rating space, like Hunch or Moviepilot, but he believes that the discovery space as a whole is fragmented; without one comprehensive, personalised solution. It was that which provided him with what he calls his ‘Eureka moment’ when he first came up with the idea for Foundd.

“I was going to watch a DVD with a friend who had a nice home theatre, and I was in the video shop trying to rent a DVD and he’s at home, and it was painful trying to agree on a movie. That was the moment I first thought about it. But I’d had the idea on how to structure the algorithm four years ago when I was living in New York… then four years later I’m standing in this video shop and I thought, ‘let me look at the market because there’s nothing omnipresent that everyone uses.’”

The service will work on an affiliate model by enabling users to access the content they have been recommended, ideally in one or two clicks. Thus if it’s paid content from iTunes or Amazon, for example, Foundd will receive a percentage. It will be available worldwide, but will be focused on the US market.