This NYC Startup is Doing the Impossible: Making it a Pleasure to Host a Party



Putting together a social event is an annoying process that takes a lot of work that we have sadly gotten used to. All the duties, like making a Facebook description no one reads, the uncoordinated modes of transportation to/from as well as no one taking charge of who owes what amount begs the question why there isn’t an easier way to party. This is where Funnster comes in. The mobile app that gives you simple tools to take care of everything from who’s setting up, to who you are hiring to clean up, is being covered. Funnster is putting together an incredible team of partners so that you can go back to partying and not have to worry about how much each person owes.

Founder and CEO Amnon (Noni) Israel spoke with AlleyWatch about the company’s launch as well as how they plan to navigate a market that people have already learn to navigate (albeit ineffectively).

Tell us about the product or service.

Funnster is a new way to organize and attend events with friends. Basically, Funnster is a mobile platform that lets hosts who are planning an event (anything from tailgate BBQs to Friendsgivings, award show parties) set all details for the gathering, monitor who brings what exactly/ who chips in ($), and connects guests by chat to make sure everyone is good to go.

How is it different?

Event and party planning is a super crowded digital space already. We tried with Funnster to combine many features (typically accessible on a variety of apps) on one service. Funnster is a ‘one stop shop’ – so to speak – to organize gatherings with friends. It covers all bases from start to finish (invites to food checklists to directions).

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

We’re lucky that our audience is basically everyone. Anyone who wants to get friends together for something is a customer. College students for frat parties. Moms for kid’s birthday parties. Buddies going to a football game and want to tailgate. The list goes on – and Funnster really provides the platform for organizing these types of informal, fun, events.

What is the business model?

We’re in the process of partnering with other venders. We want to offer users the chance to share cab rides through Via. We’re delivering products through delivery.com and offering rental space through Splacer, plus cleaning services through Handy.

Not only will these partnerships build our business, but they will also bring the startup community closer and build new relationships between companies and introduce new users to different platforms who may not have used the service beforehand.

What inspired the business?

Pretty much, the founders – myself included- really needed an easier way to organize weekly gatherings. We were always planning potlucks, movie nights, game nights, BBQs… but we were so discombobulated and scattered all the time. Luckily they/we were software developers…ha.

What are the challenges you forsee with your application and business?

I think we face the most major challenge that startups face – converting users. There are so many separate apps that people are already accustomed to event-planning services. For example, Paperless Post, Facebook Events, Venmo – these are all super popular apps (of course) – we just want people to see that Funnster makes life easier in that all of these features can be found in one place. But it definitely is always a challenge to have users try and commit to a new product.

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

We want to have 50k new users. And add new features including shared photo albums from events, chats, and a launch on Android. We also want to lock in some of the partnerships we have in the works.

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

It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. But not in a depressing way. Starting a company, especially one that has such a high probability of failing, is SO scary. But if you’re passionate about what you do and work hard to succeed, then you can manifest success. Building a business with people who are likeminded and just as hardworking is crucial. Anything can become possible if you’re willing to take risks and ask for help and advice.

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

Fred Wilson. I would love to just sit down and pick his brain; see where he sees the world in the next 5, 10, 20 years. I have always been a huge fan and respect how he has the ability to see the future of technology before it even happens.

Why did you launch in New York?

New York City has always been ahead of the curve, especially in regard to technology. And not just that, but everyone is constantly trying to plan to get together with other people. We thought that NYC would be the perfect place to launch Funnster just to solve a common problem we all seem to have – how to really efficiently get our friends together without going nuts collecting money, figuring out who is bringing which food or drink, and sending out addresses of location over and over again.

Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?

Love the Caipirinhas at Berimbau do Brasil in the West Village. And, guilty pleasure, 80’s Night at Joshua Tree on Fridays.

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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