Lifecrowd wants to differentiate itself from sites like Meetup by partnering with reputable experts to create fun group activities rather than letting just anyone create events. A few sample activities include culinary sessions to create sushi rolls, poker gatherings to learn how to count cards, beachside yoga and photography excursions.
“Lifecrowd is what Meetup should be,” Lifecrowd co-founder and CEO Bong Koh told VentureBeat. “Our emphasis is on quality of experts and content above quantity. We want to give users a way to try something new guided by vetted experts.”
The startup plans to start small by debuting officially in the Los Angeles area today and then moving up and down the West Coast. “Next up, we’d like to be in Orange County, San Diego and the Bay Area,” Koh said. “By the end of the year, we hope to launch in New York as our first market outside of California.”
Thus far, Lifecrowd has signed up more than 100 hand-picked experts in the Los Angeles market to create events. The experts use the service as a chance to make money from the activities and Lifecrowd takes a cut of what the experts charge. Initially, Lifecrowd will take 18 percent of the transaction. Eventually, as it scales out and more people use it, the company intends to take a smaller cut.
Los Angeles-based Lifecrowd has nine full-time employees and has thus far raised $2 million in funding, with participation from Bullpen Capital, Baroda Ventures and Prism Ventureworks.
Lifecrowd is one of 80 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Fall 2011 event taking place this week in Silicon Valley. After our selection, the companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.