When it comes to nightlife, one doesn’t always plan in advance – which doesn’t mean you don’t want access to an exclusive nightclub or popular bar, or tickets to that concert you just found out about…too late.
While there’s something to be said for spontaneity, wait too long and there isn’t always room at the inn. Or so you might think.
Flux is changing that. It’s an on-demand concierge app that offers members instant access to the best nightlife venues, sold-out concerts and exclusive events. Flux users start their night with the touch of a button, gliding past lines, ticket hassles and curb-side negotiations. It’s nightlife the way it is supposed to be. Flux partners with venues to provide a vetted group of members a mobile marketplace of NYC’s most desirable events and experiences.
“Despite shifting consumer preferences toward on-demand, getting night of access to an exclusive nightclub, sold-out concert, or popular bar, is expensive and difficult,” said Flux President and Cofounder Brett Harrison. “The wave of on-demand mobile services (applications that aggregate demand on mobile devices but fulfill that demand through offline services) collapses the value chain of discovery, order, payment, fulfillment, and confirmation. Although this business model has significantly affected most industries – Transportation (Uber), Dining & Drinks (OpenTable), Delivery & Logistics (Postmates), Home Services (HomeJoy), Food & Beverage (Seamless), Travel (Airbnb), etc. – the events and nightlife space has lagged drastically behind.”
Driven by a dynamic pricing algorithm, Flux users tap their phone to discover and access the evening’s best nightlife, without having to worry about lines, negotiations, and printed tickets. Venues offer a set number of spots per hour, and Flux’s algorithm dynamically adjusts prices to keep supply in sync with demand. But you do have to be there when you say you’ll be there, and when you get there, your phone is literally your ticket to get in: showing the Flux screen to the doorman or usher is enough for you to walk righ tin, no matter the line.
Flux offers on-demand simplicity and transparency in an industry defined by friction (for people who aren’t in the know, that is).
They released private beta in Spring and are launching a referral and waitlist-only phase for the beginning of the summer in New York and The Hamptons. Harrison gives us the inside(rs) story…
Tell us about the service.
FLUX is the better way to get in when you go out. Our members instantly walk in to NYC’s best nightclubs, bars, lounges, sold-out concerts, and events without lines, hassles, or tickets.
How is it different?
If I plan weeks in advance, I can order tickets to a great concert right when they come out, I can make a reservation at a nightclub, or get on the list for an exclusive event. The thing is, Millennials not only hate planning, but also are incapable of it. Doing any of these things the night of is difficult and often exorbitantly expensive. FLUX collapses the value chain of discovery, order, payment, confirmation, and fulfillment into three taps.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Three nights a week, 3.9 million New Yorkers between 22 and 34 try to figure out what they are doing. We connect the best of this group to the best experiences. Whether they want to go to the city’s newest nightclub, most popular bar, or most exclusive events, we provide on-demand, spontaneous access without friction.
What inspired you to start the company?
I use my iPhone for everything. In just a few taps I can have a ride, my dry cleaning, or a reservation at a restaurant. When it comes to going out, my phone becomes a library of user-generated reviews, with little practical application. I wanted to create an on-demand menu of the best experiences going on around the city.
How much seed funding did you raise and who were your investors?
The founders put in $160,000, and we have raised an additional $425,000 from a group of angel investors. Our main angels include Paul English (CTO and co-founder of Kayak.com), Steve Hafner (CEO and co-founder of Kayak.com), and Clement Huyghebaert (Employee #11 and Director of Engineering at Buzzfeed).
What key factors about your business motivated your investors?
From transportation to food delivery, smartphones have radically modernized city living, except for nightlife and events. Our investors saw a great opportunity here, but they really invested in our team and the progress we made pre-launch. They were impressed with our rapidly growing waitlist and the top tier venues we had already signed.
What is the business model?
Flux operates under a simple rev-share model, taking a base of 25% of sales. The platform is extremely scalable, requiring no technology or expertise at the venue whatsoever.
What if you’re stuck in traffic and can’t get to the venue in 45 minutes? (That does happen, on 27)
The user may cancel the reservation for a full refund at any time. Additionally, if they lose track of time, they can get a full refund. They will have to repurchase on the app and the price might be higher!
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We want to have 1,200 people using the app twice a month. With average group sizes of 2.5 and average per person prices of $50, we want to see a gross revenue run-rate of over $4 million.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?
Jim Glancy, former CEO of Livenation and partner at Bowery Presents. Our current investor team is strong in hospitality, finance, and tech, but we are looking to develop deep connections and experience in concerts.
Why did you launch in New York?
New York has arguably the most vibrant nightlife in the world. There is a diverse group of nightclubs, bars, and concert halls. This gave us room to experiment across venues and find our sweet spot.
Which is your favorite NY area beach?
My beach is the roof of my lower east side apartment. No sand, but no seagulls either.