Likewise (company)

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Startup Company
Social Network
Founded2017; 6 years ago (2017)
FounderLarry Cohen
Ian Morris
Michael Dix
Area served
United States
Number of employees
Approximately 35 (2020)

Likewise is an American technology startup company which provides a social networking service for finding and saving content recommendations for movies, TV shows, books, and podcasts.[1] The company has been led by CEO Ian Morris since its founding and now has a team of about 35 employees.[2] Its headquarters operates in Bellevue, Washington.[3] A team of ex-Microsoft employees founded Likewise in October 2017 with financial investment from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.[4] The free service is available on iOS, Android, web, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV in the United States and Canada.[3][5] The company leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as the user community, to recommend personalized content for each user.[6] As of July 2020, 1 million users have joined the platform.[5]


Ideation (October 2017)

In 2017, former Microsoft Communications Chief Larry Cohen came up with the idea for Likewise in Gates’ private office, Gates Ventures.[1] Cohen currently serves as Gates Ventures’ CEO and managing partner.[7] Gates bought into Cohen’s vision and agreed to fund its early development. Cohen collaborated with colleagues Michael Dix and Ian Morris who co-founded what would become Likewise, with Morris as its CEO.[4] Morris' vision is for Likewise to become a “cross-platform companion for any type of decision that involves a recommendation”.[4] The company developed its platform in stealth mode before launching publicly in October 2018.[4] Gates served as the “ultimate beta tester” during development, giving his personal input on the app’s design, and remains an active user, advisor, and investor.[8]

Release (October 2018)

Likewise officially released its platform in the US and Canada on October 3rd, 2018.[8]

Growth (2020 COVID-19 Pandemic)

In April 2020, Likewise reported that the number of new users had doubled daily and the number of recommendations and saves had increased by 400%.[9] In July 2020, the company reached one million users.[5] In addition, the platform’s monthly active users had tripled since March 2020 and grown ten-fold in the past year.[2] The same month, the company released the Likewise TV app to accompany its smartphone app and web platform.[5] The company’s accelerated growth occurred alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to stay-at-home orders across the US and Canada.[9]

Platform Features

Community and Smart Technology Recommendations

The app uses the user’s preferences to provide recommendations from an algorithm that leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence. Users can also receive recommendations from friends, people they follow, and the Likewise editorial team.[6] According to Cohen and Morris, Likewise intentionally focuses on recommendations instead of reviews and ratings to maintain a positive user experience.[4]

Find Now, Saves, Asks and Lists

Additional features allow users to:

  1. Search for content across streaming services and genres;
  2. Save recommendations for later;
  3. Ask the online community for recommendations;
  4. And create and share lists of TV shows, movies, books, and/or podcasts.[4][10]

Likewise TV

In October 2019, the company launched its Apple TV app called Likewise TV, a television app for organizing and watching shows across streaming services under one watchlist.[11] On July 20, 2020, Likewise TV launched for Android TV and Amazon Fire TV users. Likewise TV syncs with saved lists on the user’s mobile app.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Bill Gates-backed Likewise turns recommendations into a social network". Verdict. 2018-10-04. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Bill Gates-backed startup Likewise expands to TVs, bringing content picks and lists to living room". GeekWire. 2020-07-29. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Fried, Ina. "Bill Gates' new recommendation engine". Axios. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 "Recommendations startup Likewise emerges from Bill Gates' private office, letting friends track and share their favorite things". GeekWire. 2018-10-03. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Streaming Recommendation App Likewise Now Available on Fire TV, Android TV & Apple TV". Cord Cutters News. 2020-07-20. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  6. 6.0 6.1 July 2020, Jon Lafayette 20. "Bill Gates-backed Likewise Puts Apps on Android, Amazon Apple". Broadcasting Cable. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  7. Gottsegen, Gordon. "Bill Gates-funded Likewise app gives you recommendations from people you trust". CNET. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hamilton, Isobel Asher. "Bill Gates is backing an app that helps you keep track of the things your friends like". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Entertainment Curation Service Explodes As People Seek Distractions". Seattle Business Magazine. 2020-04-06. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  10. 360coordinator (2020-10-09). "Bill Gates - Likewise". 360 MAGAZINE | ART + MUSIC + DESIGN + FASHION + AUTO + TRAVEL + FOOD + HEALTH. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  11. "What should you watch next on TV? Even Bill Gates seeks advice, so startup Likewise steps in to help". GeekWire. 2019-10-31. Retrieved 2020-12-08.

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