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Coulda, woulda, shoulda: Louisville-born Impulcity nightlife app goes live on iTunes … as a Cincy startup

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The first version of Impulcity from back in May, 2012. (Click to enlarge.)

We told you about Impulcity lo’ these many months ago, way back in May 2012, under the unapologetically hyperbolic headline, “Impulcity the next Facebook?”

Today, the Louisville-born app went live on the iTunes app store about noon, Louisville time.

And boy, the Impulcity I see today looks radically different from the first version I saw last May.

The version that debuted today nationally “is totally different,” said Hunter Hammonds, who created Impulcity with Austin Cameron.

“That was largely out of necessity,” Hammonds said in an phone interview from Memphis, where he and Cameron launched Impulcity at Everywhereelse.co, the Midwest startup conference.

The first version had various problems including odd image sizes and functionality issues. Not to mention the high-school poster project fonts.

“It got too big, too fat, too clunky and too slow,” he said. “We had to sit down and ask ourselves, ‘How are we going to streamline this?”

The version that launched today.

That led to a complete redesign that features better organization than the first version, with a dominant image for the featured event at the top of the screen, then subcategories including concerts and nightlife.

“You need to play with it,” Hammonds said. And we will, turning Michael Tierney loose with Impulcity this weekend. So more on the functionality later.

Whether Impulcity becomes a hit is – for the Louisville startup community – almost neither here nor there.

The Impulcity concept was the first Big New Idea out of Louisville, Kentucky, where everyone stood back and said, “Oh, shit, these kids have come up with something that has real commercial potential.”

Impulcity is an app designed to allow users to make nights out a seamless experience, from deciding which band to see to buying tickets, meeting up and ultimately sharing the experience with friends. Cameron and Hamonds came up with something that combines everything everyone likes … crowd sourcing, music and the immediacy of Social Media tools such as Twitter and FourSquare.

(Full disclsoure: Insider Louisville CEO Tom Cottingham is an Impulcity investor, as are J.K. McKnight, Gill Holland, Phoebe Wood, Ted Smith and other Louisville business leaders.)

Impulcity also has come to symbolize the limits of Louisville’s tech community and investment network.

Originally, Hammonds and Cameron told me they wanted to launch back in June of last year. But the entire project took a giant left turn that summer after Impulcity was accepted at The Brandery, the Cincinnati tech accelerator. Then, investors, including Ohio’s $50 million technology seed fund, started throwing money at the project.

On the day last October when Greater Louisville Inc. named Impulcity to its “Hot Dozen Showcase” of emerging and/or fast-growing Louisville businesses, we got an email from Hammonds confirming Impulcity was now a Cincinnati-based company.

No. Lie.

At the time, Hammonds sent us this postscript, explaining what happened:

On a side note, I freaking love Louisville and think the support that we’ve gotten from the community, especially GLI has been … awesome. But our company and product hinges on data. I need HIGHLY talented data scientists and engineers to really scale. I’m not confident that we could even pick those people up in Louisville. A small handful may exist, but they’re being paid a fat ass salary by Humana or some (arrangement) like that. I can’t compete with their money.  I won’t say Louisville is lacking talent, but I WILL say that Louisville is lacking talent that is hungry to bust out of some BS corporate job and come work with a startup to really impact change and help build something great….

So, roll the happy ending.

Today, Impulcity is available for download by the billions of people worldwide who have iPhones and iPads.

We met Hammonds and Cameron at Gill Hollland’s The Green Building, where Gill did one of his patented, “You have to meet these guys” introductions.

So we called Gill for comment:

As an early believer and supporter in the concept behind Impulcity, it is exciting (they are) launching today, one month before South by Southwest. I think this can be the Yelp of events and concerts and will help me not miss as many shows in both my hometown and in any town I visit ….”

Check out the Impulcity website here, the Twitter feed here and the Facebook page here, while you think about what could have been, including the new Impulcity skyscraper where Museum Plaza was planned.
Sigh.

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