New Delhi: Aarati Mehta, a Delhi-based designer, was tired of going to clubs and bars for parties. Her problem was that she would typically be around the same people at these parties.
A number of people today believe that bars and clubs have outgrown their usefulness, and are looking for alternative venues for parties. Some technology platforms are trying to take advantage of that.
A friend of Mehta recommended that she explore MyScoot—a web-based platform that lets people find house parties in their city. The platform started about a year-and-a-half ago from a Google form that was circulated on the internet. The company today plans to launch Android and iOS applications within months and currently operates in Delhi/NCR and Bangalore. “The platform is mostly for socializing. We started it because we ourselves weren’t able to find any avenues to meet new people," said Somvir Yadav, founder of MyScoot.
A similar platform called Lemonade Social began with the aim of helping creative professionals connect with an audience, and in the process help people meet each other. “Artists don’t want to play at bars and restaurants anymore because people go there to eat and drink. And you have a bunch of community-driven platforms that come out and say the same things that bars say—that they will keep the money but give you an audience. What we found was that users want experiences like this, but there’s no platform that’s combining different experiences, like music, food, etc," says Kritarth Chhabra, co-founder, Lemonade Social.
Chhabra says people want to meet new people but they don’t only want to meet and endlessly chat. That’s why Lemonade has a swipe feature just like Tinder. You can swipe right or left on people, connect with them, and then choose offline activities. MyScoot’s Yadav says he too has plans to add a feature that connects people to each other.
At the moment, both platforms have two kinds of users—hosts and guests. The hosts organise parties, events and experiences, while the guests attend them. Some users are engaged in both activities. Once a host creates an “experience", like a movie night, poker night or something else, guests pay (fees that are usually kept under ₹1,000) to come to that experience. Hosts are allowed to select who gets to attend the event, and the companies also have checks in place to vet the users on the platform. This will be very important in the long run, once they gain more traction.
At the moment, MyScoot and Lemonade Social both count users in the thousands, but the goal of course is to spread to the millions. In fact, Lemonade is already expanding to Barcelona, and wants to use the platform to allow creative professionals from India to host experiences in Barcelona.
BeatMap is another such platform, which runs predominantly in Mumbai right now. “Not a big fan of bars and pubs? We might just have a solution for you. Turn to Beatmap to find and attend a house party near you," is the company’s pitch on its Facebook page.
Both Chhabra and Yadav agree that the community is yet to grow. While all these platforms are currently dealing in smaller house parties only, neither is meant just for that.
In the long run, both platforms could also allow their hosts to offer large-scale events to users. In fact, Yadav calls his platform a “marketplace" where people can put up events.
Further, in the long run, these platforms can also take advantage of the user data they get in order to enhance their products. Yadav says MyScoot plans to use data mining technologies in future, to track user behaviour on the website and then target people with the right kind of hosts and events on the platform.
Other apps to find events near you
Tech platforms monetizing the party circuit isn’t exactly a new trend. While Facebook has been creating a catalogue of events near you, here are some apps that can come in-handy:
The app covers Delhi/NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune and more. It also recommends events that you may like, based on your location
As the name suggests, this app is about meeting like-minded people and doing things in a group, like fitness activities, career networking
Foursquare city guide
This app works worldwide and it brings tips and reviews from its users to tell you exactly what you’re in for when choosing an event
It lets you discover events and book tickets for them from your phone. It has everything from nearby yoga classes to New Year Eve parties