After Meetup and recently reviewed Renkoo, France based CityCita is bringing up together a new service that help groups create group events in a smart way with a nice series of features. CEO Jamin Rubio mentionned they are about to launch the service in private beta next Monday and the services will be aimed at the US market first although anyone will be able to register the service.
The interesting approach of CityCita is that is it truely group/topic based and geo-localized. You first need to register to start or join a new group which will eventually be accessible through a permanent URL (for example http://techcrunch.citycita.com). In order to do that you need to create a group, meaning any defining of choosing a tag (coca cola, jazz, web2.0, elvisfans,…) as well as a localization (a country and a city that are pre-defined). You can either leave that group for people to join or have limited access on based on an access code. As a visitor you can easily join a group by picking up first your interest through a tag cloud or a search and also find the closest group to your place of living. And if it does not exist then you are free to create one.
Once your group is set up you can start doing all kind of things with CityCita starting by creating events. They integrated APIs of Google and Yahoo maps for you to be able to define precisely the venue of that event and share it with the rest of the group. You will be able also to feed your group with all kinds of elements like pictures (API of flickr is integrated) todo list, hosted shared items (any digital documents). You can virtually manage of all aspects of a given group and the list of features if quite complete (change layout, group name, nominate assistants, de-activate members, step down as organizer and nominate volunteers). An interesting feature is the “Spread the word” where you can find all kinds of tools to create buzz on your group on and offline for example with easy-to-build flyers. For a better view and screenshots click here
The main difference with meetup is that it is really topic oriented meaning that you can really define your interest and not choose among a directory of pre-defined center of interests leaving room for any kind of specific group and passions. Unlike Renkoo the set of features around group management is much wider although the actual event organizing features seems to be more sophisticated in Renkoo. In a word CityCita is a fusion of Meetup/Renkoo with Yahoo Groups.
Like Meetup, CityCita is free and ad-supported if you wish to create one group and will become premium (from 9 to 25$/months) for organizers if you wish to create more than one group. In premium accounts you will get a series of extra features like billing mechanism (think party fees, conferences,..), hosting,…
Globally CityCita is well designed and well thought, it will be helpful to anyone wishing to manage a group of users and create event related to it even if it takes a little while to digest all the options to get into it.
CicyCita just closed a first seed round with seasoned internet professionals (one of them is heading one of the hottest radio station in France) and they put together a team of talented professionals. However reaching critical size will be their challenge and they will have to find the right marketing channels to make it big. Social management/organization is clearly a hot topic where startup and the big guys (Yahoo are half way with Yahoo Groups there and MySpace could easily plug an add-on) are getting into. Meetup is leading the way with (only) 2 million members and there is still a long way to go. So let’s follow up to see how this is all progressing.