We 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.
This 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.
“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.