NightUp launches NY nightlife app, capitalizing on oddly barren market

By Cale Guthrie Weissman , written on July 31, 2013

From The News Desk

Last Month YPlan, the London-based nightlife event aggregating app, announced its plan to expand to New York. This made sense because the app was quite popular in London with more than 200,000 downloads and had received $12 million funding from both British and US investors. So New York only seemed like a logical extension of its stronghold. According to YPlan, it would release a New York version sometime later this year. No version has been released yet, leaving club-goers to have to [gasp] research from home.

Beating it to the punch is NightUp, a new nightlife app claiming to be the "OpenTable of nightclubs." The app is launching in New York and believes it has the tools to dominate the mobile nightlife scene. According to its co-founders, NightUp is the only app around catering solely to nightlife/club-goers.

Much like OpenTable, NightUp provides users with a dashboard exhibiting nightly promotions that users are then able to reserve in-app. In addition, they can filter between desired venues, prices, etc., and are able to pre-purchase high-end amenities like bottle service and other VIP perks. It's an app for those fastidious people who want to make sure their ducks are in a row before they blackout and vomit in an alleyway.

Co-founders Saagar Govile and Lucky Gobindram (yes, his name is Lucky), told me that before they conceived of NightUp they realized mobile applications should be their focus. The two weren't sure, however, what market would be best. For what now seems like millennia mobile marketing has been all the rage, and Govile and Gobindram were more than aware of this; they wanted to find an untapped market on which to capitalize. Then it dawned on them: nightlife.

What's weird is that they may be correct. There are some New York nightlife apps, but nothing quite like NightUp. I, personally, use Cocktail Compass to find the closest happy hour. There's EventBrite to find the best show (as well as in-app purchases), and there are countless other event and bar-like aggregators. But there's nothing that tells you what's going on at every club and provides you with a way to get on the guest list and buy deals. In fact, I would say that the New York mobile nightlife scene is focused slightly more on bars and less on clubs (although I may be wrong as a dude who lives in Brooklyn).

Other parts of the US, however, may be joining this trend with the likes of SocialNightclub in LA. There was also a SharkTank episode where Miami-based entrepreneurs pitched their "OpenTable for nightlife" a few years back. The app, which received an investment offer from Mark Cuban and Damond John, would be available in both New York and Miami. I have been unable, however, to find any news of its development.

Either way, once YPlan is released to New York, will it compete with NightUp? I'm not so sure. While both do focus on nightlife, YPlan appears to be focused more on the event side of things and less on reserving and promotions. Although this may be due to another London-based app called Lamppost that does precisely that. (Pretty much, if you want to have a good mobile nightlife scene, you should probably just move to London.)

But Govil and Gobindram believe that New York is the next big place, and they may be right. As of now NightUp has received seed funding from friends and angels, and the founders are hoping to seek out more funding in the next month or so. Fifteen venues have already signed up, and Govil told me that NightUp plans to add new features shortly. One that caught my eye is a bill divider that helps groups pay the (probably very expensive) bar tab. While I would be reticent to use the app given my fear of all things dance-floor and black light-y, I would probably use that feature.

So given that New York might actually be a pretty untapped space perhaps NightUp is onto something. Especially with YPlan coming any day now, we may be seeing a influx in nightlife mobile apps on my home turf. I'll either put on my dancing shoes or hide in a corner.