Kevin Jonas Interview: Traveling With the Jonas Brothers Inspired His New Yood App [EXCLUSIVE]
You know the feeling. You're in a new part of town, you're really, really hungry and you want a specific type of food. It's cool -- Kevin Jonas' new app has your back.
Although he's best known for his role in the Jonas Brothers and for his reality TV show, 'Married to Jonas,' Kevin recently launched his newest project: an app called Yood. The premise, like the minimalist design, is simple and straight-forward. Find high-rated food that's closest to your location. It's just that easy.
PopCrush caught up with Kevin to discuss the ins and outs of Yood, the amazing ways people have found to use it and, of course, which of his brothers gets the "hangriest." Check it all out in the interview below!
Have you been really busy since the launch of Yood?
It’s funny. I kind of pulled the trigger and shot from the hip on the launch. I didn’t even communicate with anyone really about anything coming out. I was just like [laughs], “You know what? I’m going to launch it and see what happens!” And so we did that on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 18). We crashed the servers because of how many downloads right away because we had to go a lot faster to upgrade the servers real quick. We got everything working and that’s fine and great, but definitely scary there for a minute!
The reception has just been exceptional and great and I’ve just been so blessed. We’re hearing from people all around the world that they’re discovering new locations to eat, that they’re having fun with it, they’re using it. It’s been very cool.
Congrats! How did you get involved in the development of Yood?
I have been doubling down in tech for a little while now. Ever since me and the brothers no longer make music together, I stepped aside and I’ve been doubling down here in the tech world. It’s been great for me. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot and a couple of project I’ve been working on, I’ve built an amazing team. From an iOS guy, back-end programmers, they’re all under our little shop and we’re doing a lot of mobile projects. This one was ready first, so we said “Why hold off on launching it?” And just go for gold and we just went for it!
Can you share anything else you guys are working on?
Not really. I can say in a general sense that I’ve been working on an analytic and distribution platform for Snapchat -- something I’m very active in and I needed more information, so I felt like I needed to build it myself.
For people who are just discovering Yood, can you explain how it’s different from similar apps?
The model of Yood is “taking search out of search.” In version one, which is out right now, Yood is a very straight-forward search engine that allows like, “I want to have the best-rated closest to me.” So you have the ability to search by distance or rating as your main source of search, and the user interface is very simple and straight-forward. It’s very easy to use. You’ll see that you’ll add your categories. Right now we’re launched with more of a food base, but you can really add anything you want. You can add nail salons, flower shops, yoga. Anything really that goes in and you can search all different sources of fun, unique things. I see this thing growing into something even bigger than it is right now, but just for food in general it’s moving quick. People are learning that they can put almost anything into the search and add the category, and it pulls up the highest-rated or the best nearest you.
Sometimes, for me, that was what I wanted most. I was on the road with my brothers, traveling around the world and things would be going well, and what would happen was that I’d be in a city and there would be no way I’d know where to eat because I would only be there for 12 hours and we wouldn’t know where to go. We had no idea. So I would either ask somebody or end up ordering room service because it was easier. So that’s what we were doing and it worked for us, but it was just … I always wanted something simple and that’s what this is all about. It’s all about the simple search.
I was on the road with my brothers, traveling around the world and I’d be in a city and there would be no way I’d know where to eat, so I would either ask somebody or end up ordering room service because it was easier ... It worked for us, but I always wanted something simple and that’s what this is all about.
One thing I love about the app is the simplicity. The first time I opened it, I knew exactly how to use it, which is awesome.
That’s what’s funny, most apps have kind of a first-time “walk you through how to do it” and this is like, “Oh, all right. This is easy.” And that’s what we’re seeing is working. Where we’re seeing a lot of activity is with a lot of people that are traveling, especially with business. They’re in different cities, they don’t know where to go. We’re seeing that a lot of people on job sites, like construction, they’re always in new areas and they’ve got to feed their guys. Especially with parents that are traveling with kids for school or sports of just out and about, we’re seeing that people are finding new places that they didn’t even realize are just down the street from them.
Earlier you mentioned the categories, which is one of my favorite features of the app. I saw people tweeting at you with the categories they were adding. Have you seen any really unexpected categories that people have tried?
Yeah, “cider mill.” That was one that was on the first day. I was like, “That’s unique.” And they’re like, “We just came from this place. It was so awesome! We had no idea. It was 30 minutes away.” And they went to this cider mill for the day and they send us pictures. It’s becoming a sort of a social – like a fun way to find food and other things. It’s just been good. I’ve seen massages, I’ve seen yoga, I’ve seen hibachi. There’s just so much that people are doing.
My wife has hers and she has it set for a nail salon. She has a lot of baby stores, like baby boutiques and things like that for when she’s out. Because she’s always looking for new clothes for Alena because she’s in that 8-month-old growing stage right now.
Can you share with us some of your own custom categories?
I’ve got coffee shops, Starbucks, bar, pub. I actually have music in there too, so like vinyl music record stores. At its core, in version one it’s awesome food categories now, where you can add and do different things. I see this quickly expanding to be more than it is right now.
Do you plan on expanding the app and adding more features as it grows?
Absolutely. We’re already working on the update. A lot of new features and some other things as well. Some bug fixes here and there. It’s a new app. It’s fast, we made it quick and we wanted to make it great, but there’s always things you find when you have a lot of people using it, which is great.
Since the app has a strong food base right now, can you share with us a special food-related memory you have?
I have a very, very good food-related memory. For my 21st birthday, my now-wife, at the time girlfriend, flew across the country and showed up at my house. I was working all day and we were in the height of everything we were doing and she has made chicken parm for me in our little mini kind of penthouse apartment and it was awesome. So I’ll always remember her chicken parm that she makes for me as much as possible.
Aw, that’s sweet! The app’s description says it’s the cure for a “Hangry Life.” Of yourself, Nick and Joe, who is the worst when you’re hangry?
Oh, we’re all pretty bad. I can get pretty awful, though. I’m pretty bad. [Yood is] my cure for my own problem.
We’ve all been there! Thank you for doing something to help hangry people everywhere!
Oh, well, I’m happy to do it.
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