London-based ticketing and events site Shoobs is one to watch this year; it’s part of the current group of startups backed by seed accelerator Y Combinator, which had their demo day in March. After launching in January last year, it’s got its sights on becoming the destination for events organisers and party-goers, with founder Louise Broni-Mensah taking the leap about six months ago and turning it from side project to full-time business.
Shoobs (which is apparently what the cool kids call “party”) is basically like Ticketmaster but not just for gigs: You can go to the site, search a whole range of nightlife events, then buy tickets directly. That might sound rather familiar to regular readers, and I asked Broni-Mensah how Shoobs differed from apps like YPlan, the “going-out app” we profiled previously.
“Shoobs is a double sided platform, in that it provides a self-service ticketing management tool to event organisers and an event discovery service to event goers,” she explained. It’s the relationship with organisers in particular that makes Shoobs stand out from other nightlife startups, which tend to focus more on the ticket buyers. “We have built partnerships with these organisers to provide a primary ticketing service,” Broni-Mensah continued. “As such, Shoobs is often the 'official' online ticketing provider for these events and cited as such on official promotional material.”
I looked at the site and saw offerings of comedy, club nights, and other rather niche events you probably wouldn’t find elsewhere, like a party specifically for NHS staff.
It seems to be working; when I asked Broni-Mensah what inspired her to make the bold move of leaving her job and concentrating on the startup full-time, she said the moment came when she overheard a group of strangers making plans and one of them suggested visiting shoobs.com. “It was the first time I had heard someone other than my friends reference the site!” she said. “I also started to see great traction and knew I had to take the leap and realise its full potential.”
She said the Y Combinator program had been a great learning experience, and she’s now looking to ramp things up further. “The immediate next step is raising funding and then it will be expanding the team so we can keep up with our growth,” she said. “Good hires are never easy, so I suspect this will be a challenge.”
By Vicki Turk - find her on Twitter.