Before everyone had a phone you would make plans all together and try to make sure as many of your friends knew where the hangout spot was that day. Nowadays with our phones we are documenting every activity we take part in but we are still missing the part where can easily create an event centered around a location and make sure there is a turnout every time. With Voux, you are able create private and public points of interest where your friends can join you with a quick invite. Whether it is your weekly Tuesday game of poker, or your 5-on-5 pickup games you’ll know where you are playing, and if you missed it you’ll have full access to what went down.
Today, we sit down with CEO and founder Freddie Roseman to discuss what separates Voux and wat the long term plan for the future of location based social connectivity is.
Tell us about Voux. How does it work?
Voux is the lifestyle app for events and activities that allows its users to create private and public points of interests (“spots”) with their circle of friends for their events and favorite hangouts. It allows you to manage and coordinate your meetups in a single place by combining real-time updates, social interactions and location services. You can schedule one-time events or repeating activities and invite your friends that you are connected to in Voux, as well as from your Contacts and Facebook, receive real-time updates on what is happening, set notifications to know when your friends arrive to or leave from the spot, send and receive secure spot-based messages anytime and anywhere, post pictures, post current location en route to the spot, share your spots and pictures with other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and even get an Uber and driving directions from Apple Maps, Google Maps and Waze. It is currently available for free download in the Apple App Store.
How is it different?
We believe that the apps currently out there are either apps that focus on events nearby, or focus on location tracking that locates you all of the time or your current location at a specified period of time. We add location services to your subscribed spots so that you can get automatically checked in or checked out but we do not track you 24/7. We believe that people should be in control of the locations that they are spotted at and in control of the various circles of friends or people who can spot them at these locations. Furthermore, an individual should be able to personalize his interactions with others by being able to schedule one-time events, weekly activities and ongoing spots. The premise is that for places that you want a select group of friends to know when you arrive (such as a party, a game, a date, or a favorite hangout), Voux will handle the check-in and messaging while affording you the privacy to opt out, so you choose to whom you allow to share this information. As we approach summer, kids will be out of school, and people will be out participating in and seeking activities to do together with their friends. If a favorite hangout is the mall, they can find out when some of their friends are out there and maybe their other friends will get out there too. If someone is throwing a BBQ party, Voux will make it easy to coordinate these parties. If you play sports, you may want to know if your teammates are at the gym or maybe schedule a weekly game with a select few of your friends. If you have a favorite club, you may have a different set of friends that you hang out with and you may want to know when they are there and they may be able to share if it’s worth going out there or not. An event can even be as simple as you arriving at a hotel and you wanting your loved ones to know that you got there safe.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We are addressing quite a large market of people who participate in both public and private events and activities. Activities, events and experiences are estimated to be $27B worldwide.
What is the business model?
We really want to bring our users closer to each other and form deep relationships and experiences through the activities that they are doing together. We allow you to have up to five simultaneous active spots for free in your hot spots list but you can create unlimited spots. Once you like the app and start inviting your friends to different activities—we charge a one-time fee of 99 cents for up to 20 simultaneous spots. We provide archive capability for completed spots (think a one-time party that has finished) and that does not count to your 20. We will be adding more features, some will be free and others will be available through In-App purchase in the next few months.
What inspired the business?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn and loved to play pickup basketball with my friends. We all knew what were the cool parks in the city, however, it grew very difficult to determine what park was good at a certain point in time so that I could make an executive decision of whether to hop on the bus and train for an hour or not. As I got older, this same problem lent itself to restaurants (how long is the wait), vacations (I’d like to know from my friends first hand how good the place is), meetings (I can gauge real-time how many people made it to our meetup in Soho and gain high engagement through the spot in the app), and countless other personal activities. I knew that there was a gap out there in the market and I could not find an app to serve exactly this need, and I wanted to solve it. We want people to make informed decisions based on real-time information.
Why are you the right team to build this when there are hundreds of others that have attacked this space?
I find that the best things come out of a real need and a burning desire to fix that need. The team that we have is a good mix of tech-savvy veterans, outgoing people, and the team at IBM has been a big help in establishing us on their BlueMix platform.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Over the next six months, we plan to continue to increase our user-base, come out with new and innovative features and continue to explore potential business partnerships. We meticulously chose to develop natively for iOS with the fairly new Swift language to give the best user experience, so we are planning to rollout with Android and do the same.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
We are a fairly new startup, so I am sure that there is still advice out there that we have yet to receive that we need, but my team has a ton of experience in software development and leadership and we are lucky to be surrounded with great advisors and a support network.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Probably Phil Jackson. I’m a Knick fan and I would want to pick his brain on everything that it takes to build a championship team, then everything that it takes to stay on top.
Why did you launch in New York?
I was born and bred here. I was born in Brooklyn, I went to Brooklyn Tech High School, then NYU and Fordham. My colleagues are from here too, so this is our home turf. It is one of the greatest cities in the world, resources are here, people are here, and the growing tech industry in NYC is exactly where our company needs to be at this point.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Brooklyn Diner on W57th Street and 7th Avenue. In my opinion, they have the best Strawberry Blonde cheesecake in New York and the staff is great.