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Local start-up Ayoudo uses social media to provide help and services

What do you get when you combine the power and reach of Craigslist, the simplicity of twitter and the security of eBay into a single app?

Acclaimed entrepreneur Michael Tippett (founder of NowPublic) has just launched Ayoudo, a new app that connects people in need of help with those who are willing to offer them a hand. 

"It's social media, put into action," said Tippett, speaking on the phone before the launch. "I think with the explosion of social media like Facebook shows that people today are feeling really isolated...Ayoudo can help people connect."

On the company's unique name, he explains that the word "ayudo") from the verb "ayudar") means "to help" in Spanish. The logo depicts a hippopotamus with a bird on its back. It's a perfect symbol of the mutually beneficial relationship between a hippo wanting to get rid of insects, and a bird wanting to find insects for food.

With Ayoudo, people in need of help or a service (e.g. babysitting, lawn-mowing or translating) are able to connect easily with people who are willing to offer a hand: the task can be for free or for a fee.

But the process of asking and responding is much simpler (and frankly more aesthetically pleasing) than Craigslist, with a rating system that allows users to know with a single glance whether an individual is trustworthy or not.

Even though the website puts emphasis on rating the helper, Tippett said it's also possible for a helper to rate the person who posted the task, so that people won't be exploited.

The website is currently in Beta mode, but the app is available for free here.

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