This NYC Startup Puts ‘Social’ Back into Social Media



Most social networks ironically keep you unsocial, but unlike the rest, this company is doing social media right. Wurbal, the app that lets you network socially with events and people around you, allows you to more than just envision the night you want to have, but lets you live it. Stop seeing what other fun things people are doing and start doing them yourself.

AlleyWatch sat down with cofounder Fredrik Rodievis to talk about the social media ecosystem and about Wurbal’s up and coming app.

Tell us about the product or service.

Wurbal is a product where users will be spontaneously creating peer-to-peer events far outside their own circle of friends. A social networking with a context.

It gives its users a simple yet powerful tool to arrange happenings, such as dinners where one more guest is needed or a party spontaneously arranged. The product, first launched via iOS, will contain several smart features, such as easy guest managing and shoutouts. The latter based on the user location or interest and more, notifying and inspiring people to hook up.

Wurbal is a new way of making great things happen. Offering users a simple way to realize spontaneous ideas or desires, Wurbal inspires impromptu social interaction by encouraging people to meet and engage with each other in new and creative ways. Spontaneity with a context, organized through a simple yet amazing application.

How is it different?

Unlike other social networks Wurbal provides instant access to people and happenings outside your own circle of friends. Wurbal will also enable users to crowdfund their happenings, either via the community or via sponsoring brands.

Wurbal is amazingly simple yet powerful being all about spontaneous peer-to-peer events created by users for users. The ability to very quickly and easily connect to a wide range of people (as well as happenings and places), immediately putting you in the setting you want to be.

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

We are focusing on a segment within the field where people meet. This includes event organizing but also online dating etc. Wurbal is geared towards smaller user organized events, whose focus lies on spontaneity.

Activity is the 2nd largest travel segment estimated to be worth close to $30 billion in the US. According to IBIS World, the market of last-minute event planning is growing fast with approximate annual revenue of 11 billion.

Worth mentioning the market size of online dating only in the US is around $2 billion.

What is the business model?

Using the core functionality of Wurbal and downloading the app should remain free. However we will offer priority placement, both for corporate and private individuals and direct marketing. We are also introducing a crowdfunding function for users arranging happenings and the possibility for brands to sponsor Wurbal users.

What inspired the business?

We lacked a way to meet people without necessarily having to be only about getting laid. Tinder brought spontaneity to hooking up but we wanted to create a tool for spontaneous meetings with a context.

Hasn’t this been tried before in the experiential space?


Fredrik Rodievis

Wurbal is largely based on natural behaviours and facilitating casual meetups. In that sense there are other services providing similarities with different approaches.
As a current example, NYC-based Squad App is going after dating using a Group-On-Group approach, but also lacking what makes Wurbal truly unique, context. Gidsy (a service labeled the “Airbnb for experiences” and was sold a couple of years ago) was touching the same field with peer-to-peer events but they had a different more commerce-driven approach.
What makes Wurbal unique is the simple one-stop-shop approach for meeting people with a context.

What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?

Building a strong community is really key. We are collaborating with creative and interesting people and organizations in both Brooklyn and Manhattan at this point in time. We strongly feel that grassroots thinking is essential. What we build here is something we want to export to other locations in the US.

What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?

Don’t wait around for things to happen – make them happen yourself. Execution is everything.

If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?

Chris Dixon for his nerdy interests. He is an Internet entrepreneur and investor and personally invested in several young companies including Kickstarter, Warby Parker, Foursquare, Codecademy, Pinterest, Skype, TrialPay and Stripe.

Why did you launch in New York?

New York is truly the city that never sleeps. Everyday, every hour, something exciting is happening. Which is really what Wurbal is about. Of course also the high usage of iPhones and other smartphones is an important factor.

Where is your favorite fall destination in the city?

Ace Hotel on 29th St. because their lobby is like being encapsulated in autumn while inspired. Especially if you get there early for coffee, meeting creative individuals. Also on this theme, Hops Hill in Brooklyn is an amazing bar for fall and for falling in love with beer. Their beers on tap are amazing; a nerdy place – which is preferred.

About the author: AlleyWatch

AlleyWatch is the destination for startup news; opinions and reviews; investment and product information; events reported, experienced, seen, heard and overheard here in New York. But it’s who we are that makes us different: we’re the writers and the entrepreneurs; the investors and the mentors; the lawyers and the marketers; the realtors and the recruiters – the people who work in the industry.

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