UpOut, an online guide and mobile app for discovering new and unique events in San Francisco, announced today that it has raised an $850,000 round of seed funding.
Sand Hill Angels and TEEC Angels, as well as a number of other leading Silicon Valley angels, were involved in the latest batch of investment.
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UpOut’s online event discovery service is restricted to the Bay Area for now, but the company has big plans for expanding across the United States. The company’s algorithm sorts out thousands of local events and then ranks them for users based on their personal preferences, giving them access to new suggestions that match their personal tastes.
It started as a site, but UpOut also launched an iPhone app last year to help users keep track of what’s happening around them. Users can set a number of different filters, including how far away the event is happening, when it’s taking place and the associated cost.
Users can also search for a particular type of event, such as outdoors, film or comedy, and also add specific events to a ‘wanted’ list for easy access.
UpOut says it now influences the decisions of “tens of thousands” of Bay Area locals. “After the positive feedback of our beta service, we’re excited to bring UpOut to all the locals itching to find something interesting to do,” Martin Shen, CEO of UpOut said. “In addition to helping locals find things to do, we’re helping local business owners drive traffic to their awesome events.”
UpOut started out as a weekend project by Shen and Will King while they were studying at Babson College. Prior to this, both had worked for five years at their own web design firm and previous startup; Shen started his first business in high school and had more than five years of UX design experience before starting UpOut.
King, meanwhile, is a full stack developer that’s been coding since the age of seven. It goes without saying that while both started young, they’re pretty talented guys.
Event discovery and planning isn’t a new concept by any means, but a single service or app is yet to take off in a meaningful way in the US. Location-based recommendation service Foursquare is moving into that space and Google seems to be adopting a similar feature set across its Google+ social network, but neither has taken off just yet.
If UpOut can roll-out nationwide in a timely manner, it might just stand a chance of building a critical mass of users and positioning itself firmly in the public consciousness as the ‘go-to’ event discovery service.
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