Vamos uses social graph to power local event discovery

When you’re out and about in a city you don’t know, it can be a pain to find something to do, particularly good nightlife. Guidebooks tell you where the cool places are, but not their line-up that night, while ‘what’s on’ guides don’t help much when you’re not sure what’s where.

This is the problem that Vamos, an event discovery app that launches today, is trying to solve. Right now it’s only available through iTunes, although an Android version is apparently on the horizon too.

Of course, other apps are also trying to update the listings business. TimeRazor takes a curated approach, and Time To Enjoy blends local discovery with ‘to-do list’ functionality.

But the smart thing with Vamos is that it’s not a straight listings service – instead, it aggregates public Facebook events that you, your friends and other Vamos users have been invited to, and overlays them on a map.

On top of this social graph action, the app also pulls in Instagram photos that are being uploaded at the location of nearby events, so you can see if the party has really started. It also synchronises its own RSVP system with that of Facebook.

“Facebook is helping us to work on day one, but we’re also working on integration with Eventbrite,” co-founder Luis-Daniel Alegria told me. “We’re not competing with Facebook events – we work in symbiosis with Facebook and other event platforms out there.”

Right now Vamos eschews the category-centric presentation of traditional listings, instead opting to let users filter events by time, friends, location and event type if they want. I actually quite like this, as it encourages serendipity and avoids the problem of mis-categorization, but they’ll probably have to become more category-driven as the events becomes too numerous to handle in one morass.

The company is, so far, a bootstrapped affair. So how’s it going to make money?

“We have thought about a couple of ideas,” Alegria said. “Venues that want to attract more people will be able to know who has their app open. They know which target audience they want to reach, so they’ll be able to do a promoted or featured event – we we’ll only introduce that once we have a good userbase, though.”

[vimeo w=500&h=281]