The Nearify app, with a user base of 100,000 registered users, collates information on local events and has a listing of over one million upcoming events. In the next year, it aims to list over two million upcoming events while driving traffic up to one million registered users
DIVYA M. CHANDRAMOULI
As I write this, it’s late on Friday and I haven’t made any plans for the weekend. It’s possibly going to be the same as any other weekend, a dinner or a movie or as a new-ish parent, I fancy vegetating on the couch at home. Vivek Srivastava, co-founder and CEO, Novelroots Internet Pvt. Ltd. (parent company of the Nearify app), was much less happy with mundane and he decided to venture into the business of tossing up interesting answers to the same question – ‘what’s the plan of action?’ Srivastava, along with co-founders Mayank Kumar and Saurav Singh, created Nearify to collate information on local events, in June 2013. The app, which is currently available on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, provides a user with a comprehensive list of events such as concerts, festivals, parties, workshops and more, based on interest and location. “Currently, we have about a million upcoming events listed from all over the world and we cover about 200 cities,” says Srivastava while adding that this number keeps growing as organisers show interest in the app. By the end of the next calendar year, Nearify aims to list over two million upcoming events and expand its coverage to 500 cities globally. In September 2014, the company raised its first round of funding in the range of US $ 0.5 million to US $ 1 million from Seedfund Advisors, India Quotient and Bedrock Ventures. “We will use these funds to build on our technology platform and incorporate features such as ticketing for paid events and a possible messaging platform,” shares Srivastava.
At the very beginning, when Srivastava was thinking things through, he sounded it out to his friends from college (the three of them pursued their bachelors at IIT-Kanpur), Kumar and Singh. Back then, Kumar was with Chevron in the U.S. and Singh worked with another portal, Bestylish.com. Neither needed much convincing and the trio soon figured that a technology product was the need of every boring hour. Post an ad-hoc survey of close to 200 people, Nearify was born.
This is when I ask Srivastava how Nearify is different from other event listings portals and he launches into it, “Once you download, install, and launch the app, it asks you for your location of interest or if you let it, it automatically detects your current location. Then, based on your interests in events, it shows you a comprehensive list of events happening near you. Moreover, it groups events based on your interests and schedule and lets you know if any of the known artists in the area are involved with those events. You can custom search events based on keywords and dates of your choice and even check out if your friends are going to those events.”
Interestingly, Nearify is free-for-use and as Srivastava candidly states, the company is not focused on monetising in the short-term. “We are currently focusing on user delight. Once that is achieved to our satisfaction, we will attract eyeballs and thus revenues,” he explains while adding that possible revenue channels including lead generation, sponsored listing and more.
Getting it right
Srivastava is not beyond admitting that as first-time entrepreneurs, at times, the founders lose their way in the mire. This is when they rely on the experience of their investors to help them get back on track. “As passionate entrepreneurs, we sometimes tend to overlook certain aspects of building a technology product. This is when our investors, who have seen many such companies succeed and fail, help us consider such aspects,” he says. Importantly, by being plugged into its investor’s network, Nearify has had access to a human resource pool of a much higher grade. It has also sought guidance from investors while navigating regulatory requirements and building the culture of the organisation.
Like any other startup, Nearify has its own challenges to get past. “Seeking extraordinary growth, keeping up with the user feedback-based product evolution, hiring; these are the challenges that keep us awake,” says Srivastava. Hiring, in particular, has proven to be difficult as the company is on the look out for well-balanced individuals who understand the job, the startup environment, posses the skill, experience and passion. Given that company is in its nascent stages, Srivastava states that it prefers to stay lean, keeping the burn rate to a minimum. The one way it has chosen to mitigate hiring risk is by relying on its investor network for solid references.
For now, the team at Nearify has a single-minded objective, to grab attention and build a user-base, primarily by reaching out to prospective users on social media. What works in the company’s favour is that the app has a global focus and is scalable. At the moment, it has 100,000 registered users and by the next fiscal, it wants to push that number up to one million registered users. And as the user-base expands, Nearify will look to add on exciting features to its application. One such feature that the team has recently introduced is to allow users to follow and track popular faces, music artists and bands to stay tuned to their upcoming events.
In the near future, Srivastava wants to see Nearify become the one-stop destination for identifying events. “Five years from now, whenever people think about going out, anywhere in the world, we want them to turn to Nearify for a plan,” he states.
There’s hope yet for my weekend as I check out Nearify!
Novelroots Internet Pvt. Ltd. (Nearify app)
Founders: Vivek Srivastava, Mayank Kumar, Saurav Singh
Concept: An app that provides users with a comprehensive list of events based on interest and location
Investors: Seedfund Advisors, India Quotient and Bedrock Ventures
Current reach: One lakh registered users, 200 cities and one million events
Estimated reach: One million registered users, 500 cities
Nearify was born post an ad-hoc survey of close to 200 people
Currently has one lakh registered users and aims to bring one million users on board
Has a presence in 200 cities which it plans to extend to 500 cities in the near future
Mitigates hiring risk is by relying on its investor network for solid referencesBedrock Ventures event listing India Quotient Nearify Seedfund Advisors tech startup