Finding things to do in your free time might sound like an easy ask, but according to the founders of South African startup Vibescout, well over five million South Africans turn to the internet for help in making fun plans each month.
In fact, brothers Jonathan and Paul Myburgh, and father Marc, co-founders of Vibescout, think the number of bored South Africans is much higher, and everyone would be turning to the internet for help – if there was a good platform available to them.
Initially, Vibescout started out being a place for people to find events near them, but within the first few months of operations the co-founders decided this model was too niche. What bored people need, they decided, is a much wider ranging platform – allowing people to browse events and activities across all verticals.
“Our new mission was to be a powerful aggregator of finding things to do near you, which includes everything from events, movies to activities. No platform has been able to effectively aggregate all this information together successfully, most platforms operate in their chosen entertainment vertical and therefore don’t qualify to holistically solve the “finding things to do” problem,” says Jonathan Myburgh.
Apparently, the dearth of useful aggregator platforms isn’t confined to South Africa. Myburgh says there is no platform globally that has succeeded in becoming the go-to platform for finding entertainment.
“Finding “things to do” sounds like a simple problem to solve, but we think nobody has got it right locally or globally. We think in order for us to create that “habit” for users to think “Vibescout” when wanting to find something to do, we have to been seen as curating really great content around all entertainment vertices.”
Vibescout officially launched out of beta in October 2016, and a year later has over 100,000 users visiting the platform. However, the startup believes it will see ongoing 20 to 30 per cent growth each month through to the end of 2018.
Why the high growth expectations? Myburgh says research into website traffic estimates over five million South Africans search for event and movie information each month. Add on searches for other entertainment verticals, and the market is substantial.
In the year since launching, Vibescout has focused on user acquisition, and honing its content and platform, but has not begun marketing or made any sales yet. Longer term, the founders envisage various revenue streams.
“We foresee having multiple revenue streams, from events and venues promotion, featured content to commissions on activities,” Myburgh explains.
It’s been a busy year, as the startup has also been participating in various entrepreneur support programmes – Vibescout was accepted onto the first Google Launchpad in Johannesburg earlier this year; and the founders recently completed Y Combinator’s 10-week online Startup School.
So what next? Not content with the South African market, Vibescout will look to raise external funding towards the end of the year, in order to investigate other markets in 2018.
“It is difficult to have any set sort of strategy as a lot is unpredictable currently, so we will just try to be as agile as possible,” Myburgh says.