When deciding on after-work plans, your task seems easy: match a fun place with fun people. While this sounds like a relatively easy task, in reality, coordinating everyone’s schedule becomes a headache, especially in the lives of busy New Yorkers with hyperactive calendars. The onerous planning and back and forth can take the fun out of going out with friends. Thankfully, FoSho is fixing this pain point by creating the first ever automated event planner. FoSho provides event suggestions based on your friends, interests, and everyone’s schedules. With FoSho, discovering new places has never been more fun and possible.
AlleyWatch chatted with founder Dean Pappas about the startup and how it is filling a gapping hole in the event discovery space.
Tell us about the product or service.
FoSho’s mission is to promote more social interactions by removing obstacles in the event planning process. Our first iteration tackles planning and inviting. We’ve built a platform that aggregates events and places in your area, and then suggests what to do and who to do it with. It’s like having a personal planner for your social circle. Our newest update focuses on solving flake-outs and last minute cancellations by tracking attendance. Users that have a high record of reliability are rewarded with free tickets to events in their area.
How is it different?
Event planning apps focus on tools to make plans, like calendars. The social discovery apps provide a catalogue of events to do in the area. Our solution is to merge both and provide a set of tools that can’t be replicated in the offline world; like the automated event planner and flake-out protection. Some users are even using it to get setup on blind dates. It’s been fun to see the different use cases that we couldn’t imagine before.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
The social discovery market is huge. Groupon, Meetup, and Eventbrite are all relevant examples of what we are looking to replicate, but without the need for our users to sieve through endless choices.
What is the business model?
The app is free for our users and we’ve opened the platform to Event organizers and F&B vendors as a way of marketing their business. Eventually we will also let users purchase tickets to these events directly through the platform.
What inspired the business?
As the event planner in my social circle, I’ve experienced the issue of organizing plans and dealing with last minute cancellations. Flaking out has no risk or reward, and we wanted to give people a platform that rewards them for sticking to their committed plans.
Meeting friends is a social experience based on past interaction and relationships that have been forged through time. How will your app accurately imitate or reflect that?
There are multiple friendship archetypes that we are recognizing in our algorithm. We are working closely with Dr. Andrea Bonior, clinical psychologist and author of “The Friendship Fix: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Losing, and Keeping Up With Your Friends” to model out how to identify these different relationships and how to best handle them. For example, we prioritize more frequent plans with new friendships you make in the app because they require momentum to turn them into lasting friendships.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We want to complete our feature roadmap in the next month and then focus on customer acquisition and education. We are confident that with 10,000 users in NYC, we’ll be in a good position to start selling the platform to Event organizers and F&B (food and beverage) vendors.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Go with your gut. There are two places that this is most important; in your vision and in the people you work with. I wasted time and money working with people that I didn’t have a good feeling about and not trusting my vision.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Dennis Crowley, one of the founders of Foursquare. He’s kind of like a founding father of location intelligence.
Why did you launch in New York?
There is no better place to show the value of our app than New York. The abundance of things to do here is unparalleled and it’s a great testing ground for making a decision engine that can accurately choose the best thing to do.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
Salvation Taco at the Pod 39 Hotel. Can’t go wrong with awesome tacos, great tequila, and ping pong!