Deals

Applauze nabs $7.2M to supercharge your social life

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Hooray, everybody clap — another app is working hard to help you have fun, and it’s called Applauze.

The ticketing startup has raised a hefty $7.2 million, just seven months after launching in March 2013, to keep its strong traction going and expand into new markets.

Applauze is an iOS app that presents users with thousands of events happening every day, across 41 U.S. cities and 5 in Canada. Listings include a range of concerts, sports games, theater productions, and community events.

The company finds tickets from primary sellers, as well as secondary markets like StubHub, and uses data analytics and machine learning to recommend relevant events to users, who can purchase tickets in the app in three touches. They can also share their event with friends.

Many mobile businesses struggled to convert users into customers because the purchasing experience isn’t easy enough.

Jon Callaghan of True Ventures, which led this round for Applauze, said the marketplace has experienced “extraordinary” growth and monetization because of the team’s heavy focus on building an easy-to-use product, which is part of why the firm invested.

“The team behind Applauze analyzes each touch and each swipe, and tailors an individual experience for each user depending on their location, preferences, taste, social connections and many other factors,” he wrote in a blog post. “Doing so for millions of users and thousands of new events per day across dozens of cities requires deep machine-learning skills, and the ability to deliver real time, data-driven insights to each screen within the app. This is not merely “big data;” this is a great example of transforming big data to serve up a customized experience at your fingertips.”

Customers these days expect personalization. In a world rife with mobile devices, businesses have unprecedented access to information about their consumers. This creates an opportunity to target people with relevant content and offers, based on their context. 

Why spend the time searching through various listings, blogs, news sites and forums for cool stuff to do, if an app can put it right in front of you?

As Callaghan said above, enabling this is no mean feat.

Many apps before, and I am sure many to come, tackle the question of “what to do.” But it is an incredibly fragmented market on the business side, and a tricky nut to crack on the consumer side. So many factors play into how we spend our time and money, and there are so many options out there.

Applauze seems to have succeeded so far, with businesses and with users. At least enough to attract $7.2 million from investors who believe in the vision and the team’s ability to execute it.

Before it rebranded as Applauze, the company was known as 955 Dreams. It created apps including The History of Jazz, On the Way to Woodstock, and Band of the Day, which attracted millions of users over the past couple years.

However the growth of online marketplaces and mobile commerce has created an environment where people are using their phones for everything. Mobile devices are particularly useful for planning social activities, because people can make decisions on-the-go and in the moment.

Applauze isn’t the only one trying to take advantage of these opportunities, but it is taking a less curated approach than its competitors, and as a result able to expand geographically faster.

YPlan, “tonight’s going out app,” and WillCall, which presents users with a list of local concerts, both address how much noise there is in the “stuff to do” space by offering a curated list. Each is only active in two markets at the moment, because curating takes time and manpower on the ground.

Applauze is based in San Francisco. AllThingsD first reported the news, and said that m8 Capital and StubHub cofounder Jeff Fluhr also participated in this round.

 

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