Countless social-planning apps have tried, unsuccessfully, to capture the attention of users in a way that would produce enough engagement, which in turn would result in partnerships with vendors and merchants, which in turn would generate revenue.
However, London-based YPlan, a mobile app that presents users with curated shortlists of same-day events, seems to have a nice little formula in place that could see it win where others have failed. Within nine months of its debut in the UK, it has picked up 300,000 users and lucrative partnerships, including one with Apple to distribute tickets to its hugely popular iTunes Festival in the city. Today, YPlan kicks off its big ambition to crack the U.S. with the same model, starting first with the Big Apple, New York City.
No, it’s not the first events app to come to New York. It will compete with the likes of Sosh, Loudie and others. But unlike Sosh, which focuses on food- and drink-based experiences over a period of time, YPlan’s secret sauce is in timeliness.
When you open the app, you’re offered a curated list of 10 to 15 events in your city that are happening either that night or very soon. From there, you can purchase tickets directly within the app to the event of your choosing, whether it’s a concert, a rooftop party or whatever.
Co-founder Rytis Vitkauskas says that 90 percent of users both in London, and in the NY beta test they’ve conducted, are buying tickets within 48 hours of the event. Vitkauskas doesn’t see Sosh, or the many listings-based apps that are out there, as head-on competitors because of that magic combination of offering shortlists, real-time availability and a chance to buy tickets within the app.
“YPlan will not be showing you 50 events per day. The really core focus of the data is that less is more,” said Vitkauskas. “We’re razor-focused on being the answer to the question, ‘What am I going to do tonight?’”
The company has just crossed 300,000 activated downloads, meaning people have at least fired up the app once, and Vitkauskas adds that “the majority” of users come back and engage regularly.
YPlan has raised a total of $13.7 million, with $12 million of that coming in a Series A in June led by General Catalyst Partners, and it has amassed a group of other A-list supporters. Existing investors Wellington Partners and Octopus Investments also participated in the Series A round, along with a swathe of co-investors, including A-Grade, Kevin Colleran and David Morin’s Slow Ventures, and Shakil Khan, investor and advisor to Spotify and Summly.
To add to that, the company has just announced that Sean Moriarty, the former CEO of Ticketmaster, is an investor and joins the board of directors to help YPlan handle ticketing as the company scales.
Eventually, YPlan will bake in some more social features, allowing users to blast out the events they’re interested in to a group of friends or colleagues to get them in on the mix. And it may also look to extend beyond events. “We’re thinking about extending the proposition to a full night out with YPlan, but that’s not the deal right now,” he says. “We believe there is a big enough opportunity and a narrow enough use case to go out in London and NYC to an event. Once we nail that and scale it out, we will look to expand the proposition.”
If you want to check out YPlan, head over to the App Store.