Fun Org is not the first app in the world to offer exciting, curated local events. It’s not the first one to make mobile ticketing seamless, and it’s not the first to do it with pizzazz. It’s not even the best-named one.
But it might be the best-designed one. Admittedly, as I half-listened to founder Jana Trantow’s pitch at NYTM and Change the Ratio’s demo night this week, I was not blown away. Another app to help me find cool things to do. Yawn. I live in New York City — I am surrounded by cool things to do, which I discover via newsletters, Facebook, Twitter, local blogs, and friends. Never once have I thought, “Oh MAN, if only I had an APP to help me find something to do with all of this nonexistent free time!”
But then I looked up from my laptop and actually saw the app being demoed, and thought, “Oh. I would totally use that.”
It just looks fun. Which is obviously the point. And the events are limited and curated, and it’s not another newsletter cluttering up my inbox. Instead, every Wednesday at noon, Fun Org pushes a notification of six very cool hand-picked events, where I can purchase tickets seamlessly through the app, invite friends, or tell them I’m going via social media channels. You can “watch” an event if you can’t decide if you want to go yet, and get an update when it’s close to selling out.
Right now it’s very small potatoes — pushing a handful of events in New York and San Francisco — but the company has plans to scale. The events in the app are sourced through partnerships with services like adventure provider Sidetour, “culinary salon” group City Grit and sneaker publication Complex Magazine. There are also partnerships in the works with brands that sponsor events. The idea is that Fun Org won’t have to do all of the legwork when populating its app with cool events each week. The result is a smattering of interesting activities that sound like a ton of, well, fun.
Curation wasn’t always the plan. Fun Org’s founders started out with the goal of recommending events with algorithms. “It was like taking Hunch into the real world,” Trantow says. But in beta tests, they found that users responded more to the events curated by humans, so they dropped the algorithm approach and started forging partnerships.
They beat around 400 startups vying to get into Polaris Venture Partners’ Dogpatch Labs in New York, moving into the offices in January.
And about that name: It’s not great. Fun Org just sounds like Fun Orgy or Fun Organ or something. Luckily the company is in the process of purchasing the URL for Fun.org, so once that’s in the bag, we will be able to call it “Fun Dot Org.” Too bad just plan “Fun.” was already taken.