Avabar launches nightlife mobile app

by Holden Page


AvabarWe all love a cheap drink, good friends, and a morning filled with memories from the night before. It isn’t until your friends leave that you realize your bank account has taken a hit like the hangover you’re nursing.

Kosh Samuel, founder of mobile app Avabar, sees this millennial market as a huge business opportunity for bars, liquor companies, and those of us looking to have a good time on the cheap. Made alongside the creative developers at Sevnthsin; Avabar launched its discover and deals app (iOS & Android) over the weekend for those who love the nightlife and want more of it.

Avabar is part Groupon, Tinder, and Foursquare wrapped in one beautifully designed package. After downloading the app, getting started with Avabar is pretty straightforward. Users are prompted to fill out their profile; which includes picking out favorite drinks, entering a brief description, and choosing whether you go out to date, or just to find friends.

The profile setup was easy, although a bit time consuming and I was left disappointed with the selection of drinks. For example, although there are over 20,000 drinks in Avabar’s database, it was impossible to find or manually enter my favorite beer, Grain Belt Premium.

Once a profile has been set up, users are then presented with a map displaying the local bars that Avabar has partnered with. As expected, users can check into these bars, and view deals that are tailored to their drinking preferences. You can also view a heatmap (left) of the hottest bars in town, add deals to a virtual black book, and message other members on the service.

Small database issues aside, the app experience was smooth. I experienced no crashes, and was never left wondering what to do next. It is clear that Kosh and crew left no stone unturned before releasing this app.

Even the transitions between selecting menus are charming — an uncommon experience for newly released apps.

While these features work near flawlessly, they do require a certain critical mass of adopters to really be useful. Instead of relying on hope as a strategy to break through the ranks, Avabar has hired brand ambassadors to promote the app at bars in person. On top of this, Avabar will also be cross-marketed through their partners (more on that later).

He believes that this approach will jumpstart adoption, and eventually initiate a network effect amongst users.

Avabar2This network effect is directly tied to Avabar’s monetization model. While Samuel has plans to make money via in-app upgrades, the core of the monetization strategy is through the liquor companies they have partnered with. Using profile information, Avabar has built an advanced back-end that allows select companies to target deals based on individual drinking preferences backed by metrics, a key differentiator in a busy space.

Avabar has a confirmed three liquor companies participating in their deals platform: 612brew, Phillips Distilling, and Johnson Brothers.

“We have ideal go to market partners due to their demographic, and desire to explore new approaches,” he says.

A further vote of confidence in Avabar’s model comes through the financial backing. Kosh has raised $600k, and is expecting to close another $200k in the near future.  It’s healthy seed round of funding for a homegrown mobile application. With nearly $4 billion spent in advertising by liquor companies a year, investors must really like idea of getting a piece of that pie through Avabar.

Yet, all of this excitement doesn’t negate the very real problem of garnering adoption amongst those who participate in the night life. Without them, much of what Avabar offers partners would be next to useless, effectively killing Avabar’s business. It also is worthy to note that Avabar’s equal focus on deals, dating, and check-ins puts them on a slippery slope towards an identity crisis. While the app currently balances all three facets elegantly, it will take considerable amounts of devotion to make sure this remains the case.

With a beautiful app, a strong vision, and an excitable founder, it would be of little surprise to see Avabar as the life of the party in the Twin Cities this summer.


  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/JeffPester Jeff Pester

    So basically, the 500th version of this idea :) Best of luck though.

    • http://twitter.com/HoldenthePage Holden Page

      I think they’re front end isn’t all the unique, but the proposed business model is.

      What other apps besides groupon are you referring to?

    • http://tech.mn Jeff Pesek

      Hmmm…unoriginal idea – yes. But who is executing/leading? Could a successful, prosperous and attractive slice be captured? Possibly.

      • http://www.linkedin.com/in/JeffPester Jeff Pester

        There’s no one executing/leading because the underlying hypothesis of the business model is structurally flawed. AKA, It’s a solution looking for a problem that doesn’t exist at anything near scale.

    • koshsamuel

      Jeff, thanks for the critical feedback. One of the hallmarks of our business is that we always ask the same question at the end of every meeting with a user, vendor, venue, investor or otherwise… “Please tell us why this will fail?”

      It sounds like you have many reasons why and I sincerely look forward to the opportunity to share with you our technology and business model for your unflinching analysis. To this end, please feel free to contact Jeff or Holden and they can provide my contact info to you so we can arrange coffee, FaceTime, etc. to gain your perspective. We’ll take your input and use it to improve our technology and business model wherever possible.

      Again, I appreciate your commentary and look forward to connecting with you.


      • http://www.linkedin.com/in/JeffPester Jeff Pester

        Happy to give you my feedback … will tell Jeff to forward my contact info.

    • Adam Sellke

      Calm down, Frances. Seriously, why the vitriol? Based on your vast knowledge, what can you bring to the discussion? You leave this shit here, but offer to take your constructive feedback offline? Please.Take your self-important wankery and bounce it off your own echo chamber of self-referential links, fauxfiles, and dummy twitter accounts and leave us out of it.

      • http://www.linkedin.com/in/JeffPester Jeff Pester

        I think you have the “offer” part backward. As you can see from his comment, the CEO of the company invited me to meet offline. I have accepted and am looking forward to helping him/them in any way that I can.

        • Adam Sellke

          You’re right. My mistake for thinking you had any constructive intentions at all.

        • http://twitter.com/kaufenberg Justin Kaufenberg

          Boy, I’m sure he’s thrilled for that meeting.

  • Gary Horrocks

    There are many apps like this, we spent over a year doing research on this and creating a business plan and model in south dakota. Good to hear you were able to get the seed money we ran into some funding fall out.Love it if it comes from the midwest Some of the pain points you may have or will have we may have a solution. We also have some patent pending on the process flow and transaction model that we could share. or some other ideas I would love to share with you and possible partnerhships. We had some huge markets and locations locked in. SD Governors challenge Bar-Tek is our company mssg me if you are interested in a discussion. Based on everything I have read on your app it may be worth it for both of us.