The mobile phone is an ideal tool for booking something at the last minute, as you always have it with you. This concept has already become entrenched in the hotel-booking space through the likes of Hotel Tonight and Blink and in taxi-booking through Hailo et al, and WillCall is employing it for gigs and theater in a couple of U.S. cities. Now YPlan, a London-based outfit, is trying the same idea for more general events.
YPlan’s Passbook-integrated iOS app only works for the British capital at launch, but it offers an interesting range of events, from gigs (Hot Chip and Chemical Brothers co-manager Robert Linney is a backer) to shows, whiskey tasting, rooftop cinema and, er, chessboxing (a thing, apparently).
“For bands, live concerts and events present the biggest revenue drivers. But many of these live events aren’t sold to capacity, with millions of seats staying empty every year,” Linney said. “YPlan is aiming to change that for the better. Not only does it give YPlan’s customers immediate access to some of the coolest live performances in London, but it also helps the artists by allowing more fans to discover and see their shows.”
Compared with social event discovery services such as Vamos, this is a much more curated affair, with an element of learning the user’s tastes.
“We learn everything from what the user does,” YPlan founder Rytis Vitkauskas told me. “We track the clicking and booking patterns and we become smarter over time. This only works once you have lots and lots of events. That is ultimately the objective, to always have a shortlist, but a pretty well-tailored list.”
Now, about that ‘lots and lots of events’ point. YPlan isn’t really starting out with that many, largely because it sources its events directly. The sales team is led by an ex-Time Out digital director, though, so there’s clearly experience on that front.
YPlan quietly took in a round earlier this year and, according to Vitkauskas, it won’t need any more cash until next year, when it expands out of London. “Then we do the States, starting from the East Coast, then back to Europe — Berlin and Spanish cities,” he said.
Given the highly curated nature of the service, I would imagine that YPlan will have to be very deliberate about its growth strategy. But it will be interesting to see how it pans out, particularly as a more tightly-controlled counterpoint to the social tack taken by the likes of Vamos.