Start-ups Uncovered: Introducing 49st.com
By Alexandra DeLory | March 1, 2012
Starting your own business is an appealing idea to many people, however, a lot of new businesses fail. The world of start-ups is often viewed as an exciting, rewarding, yet risky venture.
In the coming months CanadaOne will take readers behind the scenes of Canadian start-ups in different industries. Where are they now? Where will they go? How do they plan to grow? Will they make it or not?
Join us as we check in with Rob Imrie, the Co-founder of our first start-up: 49st.com.
What is 49st.com?
49st is a social network for events, hoping to one day be the leader in “event” social networking.
On 49st you can search, discover and share events and activities, follow your favorite places and receive personalized recommendations.
What is the atmosphere at the 49st office?
Like most start-ups, the environment at 49st is fast-paced. We’re located in a small, but cool exposed-brick office located downtown Toronto.
As we navigate our way through uncharted waters, the three of us, Rob, Soheil and Anton, are required to wear many hats.
Part of the excitement of working at a startup is that we can be reactive to situations as they arise. Just as established companies manage certainty, we need to manage uncertainty.
What phase is 49st in right now?
49st just launched its social site last Tuesday (February 14, 2012).
Can you describe what 49st was before it became a social site?
Before Tuesday, 49st was a traditional event portal, people would visit 49st and scroll through several listings in search of finding something of interest to them.
The new social site requires a login and is setting out to make discovering new and exciting events and activities not just a meaningless list of details but a social undertaking.
Are there any overriding concepts, ideologies or themes that 49st is building itself on?
A theme around the office is ‘pivoting’, a word that’s being used more and more in the tech start-up space. It refers to the strategy of altering course based on insights and feedback.
How many times has 49st pivoted?
Since our beginnings, 49st has pivoted twice.
Pivot #1 happened when we recognized that other websites with a lot of traffic were looking to offer their users access to things going on in their city, 49st began syndicating our content to media companies.
Pivot #2 happened when we recognized that people are looking for a personalized experience when they visit websites.
What do you forsee as 49st’s biggest challenge over the next 3 months?
Over the next three months we want to raise awareness of 49st.com. Our goal is to attract people, general users and event promoters alike, to our site.
Since events are ‘viral’ by nature, everyone likes going out with friends, we have added functionality to the site to make it easy to share (i.e. post on Facebook and Twitter) and invite friends.
Our hope is that those tools are successful in drawing traffic.
Where do you see 49st three months from now?
We will have increased our presence in the United States by adding more event listings to the ones we currently have in hundreds of US cities, thereby increasing our traffic.
Over the next quarter, we will also focus on prospective US publishers that may benefit from offering our fresh, local content to their users.
Good Luck to you 49st!
We will be checking in with 49st three months from now to see what the unpredictable and exciting world of start-ups throws their way. Until then you must wait in suspense to find out if 49st’s predicted successes and predicted challenges come to fruition. Will they fulfill their goals? Or will they pivot once more?