No plans yet for the weekend? Good! Here’s something you should try then: Eventster is a new app for iPhone and iPad launching today which is tackling local event recommendations. The app pulls in 600,000 events per day across North America and Europe via the Zvents API (now a part of StubHub), offering activities like concerts, festivals, nightlife hotspots, theater showtimes, sports events, and more.
As you flip through the events, you can upvote and downvote them, which, in turn, helps power the app’s recommendations. Other locals in your area will see those votes and can then quickly tell which events are trending. Plus, like any good recommendations app, Eventster learns which events you’ll like based on your previous activity.
“Event discovery represents a really interesting challenge for us as entrepreneurs,” explains Tackable co-founder Luke Stangel, who helped create Eventster. “Live Nation, on average, sells just 60 percent of its available tickets each year. They did a study trying to figure out why 40 percent of their seats were empty, and found the majority of people said, ‘I would have gone to this event if I had known about it beforehand.’ For Live Nation, event discovery represents a $2.3 billion-a-year pain point,” he says.
To use the app, you first sign in with Facebook, and then you can browse through the “popular” section or do a more advanced keyword search. Power users will appreciate that there are a ton of filters, too, to narrow down and sort event listings by time, distance, and category. The search screen also displays events in a more compact list for easy scrolling, and you can also see events plotted on a map (which looks great on iPad). When you find an event you like, you can bookmark it, vote on it or buy tickets, when applicable.
Tackable, the company behind Eventster, was founded in late 2010 and previously raised $535,000 from MediaNews, the second-largest newspaper publisher in the country. Tackable was incubated within the San Jose Mercury News its first year, during which time it produced a photojournalism app for iPhone and a location-aware news aggregator called TapIn. But, says Stangel, “we learned a lot a while building TapIn…mostly, that people’s didn’t care about anything but events.”
“We’d built this really elegant platform that put news, weather, video, events, deals, business listings and reviews on a map,” Stangel continues. “People would turn off every layer of information except events. We got 10 times more emails about events than any other feature. We knew we were tapping into something pretty powerful.” Hence, Eventster.
Today, there are 6 people working on Eventster, including CEO Ed Lucero who co-founded AGENDA in 1998, which went on to raise $40 million in funding, grew to 800 people and became Asia’s largest digital marketing agency before it exited to the WPP Group in 2008. There’s also CTO Steven Woo, who was a principal engineer at Blizzard (he was in charge of Diablo II), and later co-founded his own studio, Hyboreal Games. The company is now raising its Series A.