Digital tools have streamlined services in almost every sector — from daily deals to travel planning to video sharing — but event promotion still largely relies on traditional channels.
Seattle startup HurryOut wants to modernize and simplify that process. The app, which launched last month, aims to be a one-stop shop for users looking for something fun to do in their area.
“I should be able to find an event I like, in any category, at any time and location, within seconds of pulling out my cellphone,” said HurryOut CEO Andy Albani. “And I should be notified if I am about to miss something I might like.”
HurryOut, which at this stage is only curating events in Seattle, lets users search based on location, category, date, venue, or artist. The app saves events you like and acts as a social platform with the ability to connect with Facebook, Twitter, email, and text.
We caught up with Albani for this installment of Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We make it incredibly simple to find events you’ll enjoy, among hundreds in your area.”
Inspiration hit us when: “We’re salsa dancers. While we were out practicing, we wondered when and where the next Latin dance event was going to take place. We realized there isn’t a go-to place to find all public events, like there are for videos, flights, restaurants, classifieds, etc.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Self-funded for now. It’s a competitive space, so we want to get market validation before seeking external funding. We just released version 1.0 of the HurryOut app on iPhone and the metrics so far are encouraging.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “We’re passionate to get people to go out and enjoy the variety of amazing activities happening everywhere. We’re determined to make it much simpler to discover, share, and keep track of events using today’s technology.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “On the technology side, we replaced our underlying framework which was affecting reliability and performance. We lost three months, but the feedback from our beta testers was overwhelmingly positive.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “We made a website first. The first question from almost everyone was, ‘Do you have an app?’ Clearly we should have started with mobile first.”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “All four, but we’ll settle for Bezos. Our technical founder is an ex-Amazon employee who loves Amazon’s entrepreneurial culture. Also, the idea of having as broad a selection as possible is something Jeff would totally get.”
Our world domination strategy starts when: “You open HurryOut upon arriving in Tokyo, to look for the best Jazz show in town, not too far from your hotel.”
Rivals should fear us because: “Rivals should join us. There is incredible talent spread across many startups with a similar mission. We’ve gotten quite far with an app that is simple, useful, and fast. Check it out, and let’s work together to reach the goal quicker.”
We are truly unique because: “We have the only app which combines both a very broad selection of events, and the ability to quickly find something you like.”
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Wrapping our heads around the problem definition. There are many ways in which people find out about events. Capturing and understanding such behaviors, and distilling them into a prioritized list of requirements for our app (our MVP for you Lean fans) was quite challenging.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “This will sound cliché, but talk to as many people as possible who would use your product.”