How is this for timing?
Just as Facebook goes public at an anticipated valuation of $100 billion, a Louisville duo is preparing to launch a smartphone application/website they hope will revolutionize the way people socialize.
Hunter Hammonds and Austin Cameron are putting the final tweaks on Impulcity, which they created to make a night out a seamless experience from deciding what band to see to buying tickets, meeting up and ultimately sharing the experience with friends.
A select few friends and investors including Forecastle Festival founder J.K. McKnight are testing the beta version of Impulcity, built for Apple’s IOS smartphone operating system.
“People we know who will use it constantly, trying to break it,” Hammonds said.
Hammonds and Cameron are planning to publish the app in late June or early July, when it will be available at the Apple iTunes store.
Impulcity will be available through both smartphone platforms and a website. But the point of the app is to offer users the most functionality, taking it along with them to concerts and events. And functionality is the key to whether their creation takes off, Hammonds and Cameron said.
The app is designed for people who aren’t going to spend time digging through LEO and Courier-Journal looking for ideas, but want to know instantly what’s going on with all the bands and at all the venues, wherever they go.
Impulcity is a collection of features pioneered by other social media concepts, but refined and targeted toward music lovers under the tagline, “What are you doing tonight?”
It has the Facebook/Google+ features of sharing information coupled with a smart data base that aggregates and curates information from sources such as social media, websites and events calendars.
Impulcity works on the social-media magic of the more you use it, the better it works. Each time you search for information about concerts, acts or clubs at home or in other cities, the more the Impulcity data base knows about your habits and what you like, and the more it can guide you toward the experience you’re looking for, Hammonds said.
Building subsets of user data, the app “knows he likes to go here and hang out with these people,” he said.
“If you’re feeling spontaneous, (Impulcity) can look through categories and make recommendations,” Cameron said.
• find what events are going on and where their favorite acts are playing.
• invite friends to where they decide to go.
• get crowd-sourced opinions from their Impulcity network about prospective destinations, changing gears if it sounds like that first choice is going to be a bust.
• live chat, video and photo sharing along with descriptions of concerts, which they can keep for memories and reference. For example, Impulcity users can text their bud standing closer to the stage at a concert and ask him to try to get a better iPhone shot of Flea in the Red Hot Chili Peppers to share on Impulcity.
• purchase tickets directly.
Which is why Hammonds and Cameron are convinced Impulcity will be a money maker.
Impulcity, like most consumer apps, sells for the low, low price of free.
The revenue comes from deals with ticket sellers such as Ticketmaster and from targeted advertising. If you like Louisville bands, you’re going to get pitched, say, My Morning Jacket’s latest album.”But you only see promotions that are relevant,” Hammonds said.
Each purchase through Impulcity generates a fee, though Hammonds and Cameron declined to give specific figures.
The target audience is 18-year-olds to 24-year-olds. But Hammonds and Cameron say Impulcity is a no-brainer for people of any age who travel a lot, or who have kids who need to be entertained.
“We have no bias for events,” Hammonds said. “It could be anything.”
With that latitude, Hammonds and Cameron have a goal of signing up 1 million users within 12 months.
That would be an almost Facebook-like feat. It took Facebook nearly a year to reach a million users and more than four years to reach 100 million.
Hammonds, the designer, and Cameron, the developer, concede they don’t come out of the Boston/Harvard high-pressure environment where Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook.
“But it’s not like we’re two geeks who never built a consumer-facing app,” Cameron said.
Though the toughest part of getting Impulcity to market has been making the connections and raising an undisclosed amount of seed money, they said.
But they have the concept and the platform. Now, Hammonds and Cameron need to build the business behind Impulcity.
Both are on their way now to Cincinnati, with Impulcity accepted for a 14-week program at The Brandery business accelerator.
“We’re leaving as soon as we can sign a lease (on an apartment),” Hammonds said.
Will the next stop after Cincinnati be Wall Street?