This past weekend, nearly 100 people wandered around Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood looking for a unicorn. No, not one of the region’s billion-dollar startups, but a pink unicorn, named Mr. Sparkles.
The game was a stunt to promote the launch of DTH (Down to Hang), a new app that makes it easy to coordinate plans with friends. Unicorn hunters received hourly hints and could get more information about their elusive prey by inviting new people to the app. The winners scored a free bar tab.
DTH is simple – users describe their plans, set a time limit to RSVP, and add friends, who receive an invite via text. That text just includes the acronym DT and the last letter or emoji is input by the user. DTH hopes to court millennials with a nod toward the more infamous DTF acronym (NSFW).
“There’s tons of potential humorous double entendre there. So we think that will appeal to people that like Instagram and Snapchat because of their ephemerality and the humor,” said DTH CEO Skyler Bissell. “We’re hoping that DT_ catches on as part of the lexicon of these demographics.”
Bissell and co-founder Tim Strother found inspiration to take the entrepreneurial plunge from a situation most startups would find discouraging. They released the first version of the app in September of last year but weren’t ready to devote themselves to the project full-time. Shortly thereafter Google came out with Who’s Down, a similar app in concept and design.
Up until then, we had been not taking it very seriously but with a company like Google coming after us and doing something very similar, we figured that that was a pretty good indication that we were on the right track,” said Bissell.
They decided to commit to DTH full time and designed a newer, more sophisticated version of the app. The startup was able to make an aggressive marketing push during the launch, thanks to a small seed round of fundraising. DTH is currently looking to raise another seed/angel round in the coming months.
“I’ve already had multiple meetings with local angels, people active in the community, and we’re in talks with people in the Seattle Angel Conference, as well as some other folks,” said Bissell.
After this weekend’s launch, DTH has approximately 350 users. Bissell and Strother are also applying to the Y Combinator and 500 Startups accelerators to help build on their momentum.
Because the launch event was so successful, DTH will host more scavenger hunts in the coming weeks. Keep tabs on DTH’s Facebook page for your chance to hunt down Mr. Sparkles.