From Portugal to Chile and now in Brazil, WeGoOut has made more than one international leap.
Founded in May 2011 by André Moniz and Frederico Camara, WeGoOut is a platform to connect people and businesses within the nightlife scene. It notifies users of nearby parties, bars, clubs and events, linking them to those with similar interests and friends of friends in close proximity.
WeGoOut works by aggregating existing information from Facebook, Foursquare and Instagram. It gives those evaluating options for a night out insights into what’s going on at a specific event – age and gender of attendees, acquaintances going, etc. Through the impending WeGoOut mobile app, users will be able to check in at and rate an event as well as post live photos from inside. The app will also have an icebreaker feature to connect attendees with one another.
For business owners and event promoters, WeGoOut is a unique opportunity for advertising and promoting events online and on mobile devices, via social media and other outlets. Its basic features are free of charge, with other elements such as premium advertising, user data, deal offers and ticket sales coming at a cost.
WeGoOut Co-Founder and CEO Frederico Camara talked to us a bit about the company, including its previous work with other startup support organizations, the nature of its competitors, and its current focus on establishing a strong presence in Rio de Janeiro.
Emily Stewart: You’ve worked with 21212, Start-Up Chile and UPTEC. Why continue on this accelerator-driven path?
Frederico Camara: UPTEC is a traditional incubator. Being there was a very good opportunity to have access to an ecosystem of startups and a lower cost of infrastructure to start the prototype and launch the first alpha version. Moreover, it was important in having access to mentorship and learning about other opportunities, one of which was Start-Up Chile.
After applying and being accepted to the program, we moved to Santiago with the idea of being accelerated. However, we found that even through the program provides financial support, it is more similar to an incubator than to an accelerator. The investment was very helpful on getting some initial traction and developing a more stable beta version, but the most relevant achievements from the program were gaining more knowledge about the ecosystem, working with other international entrepreneurs, discussing ideas about work methods and market approach, and getting attention from the media and investors. At the end of the program, it was then clear to us that we were ready for and in need of an accelerator to help us achieve relevant growth in a target that fit our product value offer.
We had opportunities to go to U.S. and Argentina, but we choose Brazil because of the market fit and the good things we’d heard about 21212. In Portugal, we have very few opportunities to get into the ecosystem of tech startups, as there are very few investors, almost no success stories, and the market size is small.
We consider our path as a learning process from which we are now graduating. 21212 has been amazing in providing us the tools and knowledge necessary to enable us to continue on in the process on our own.
ES: Who are your competitors both locally and internationally, and what makes you stand out?
FC: There is no direct competitor in the nightlife scene doing social discovery in Brazil, so locally, we compete with traditional local city events guides that promote parties and places through expensive journalistic work. Internationally, there is Hotlist, which is also focused on events discovery. However, it’s not focused on nightlife, nor has it developed a real sense of social community. There are also other startups appearing that are trying to do real-time updates of outings, but again, with no focus on nightlife.
We combine social discovery with real-time social interaction, adding discounts and offers specifically geared towards nightlife-related entities and helping business owners and event promoters to advertise to those with plans go out and better promote theirs events and places while adding a social impact.
We solve the specific problems of a specific community – problems that require deep tech knowledge that many startups lack.
ES: Event information is rather dispersed online. What strategy have you employed to gather information on websites, social media, applications as well as offline to bring information to one single place? How much do you rely on event organizers to seek you out?
FC: The magic of it is to grab information from social networks, like Facebook, Foursquare and Instragram. We do not rely on event organizers to seek us out, as the data comes from where people are already going, but we rely on them on keeping it updated.
Event organizers and business owners are motivated to update their information (and they proudly do it, as in the end it is a free promotion channel). They also add discounts and offers to attract more attendees and achieve social spread. We do need to be active in developing relationships with business owners and event promoters to make such deals possible.
ES: What are your plans for evolution and expansion over the next year?
FC: Our next goal is to grow our user base in Rio de Janeiro throughout the rest of the year. We want to establish a good market position in Rio de Janeiro both with users and business owners (who can advertise and offer deals through our platform). Then, we will focus on São Paulo, Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte.
Having proven the model in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, with an online/mobile platform that allows a more efficient way for venues and promoters to interact with the social nightlife community, we will go global. This is a worldwide problem, at least in the occidental world. And considering the feedback we’ve received from the media and investors in the U.S., it also makes sense there because no one has been able to resolve these problems efficiently yet. In the second semester of 2013, we will focus our strategy on moving to other countries, starting with the United States.
The Portuguese WeGoOut team clearly has big plans for the startup. Their commitment to the enterprise in taking it from Europe to South America is certainly something to be admired and emulated by fellow entrepreneurs.