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YPlan: London nights out will never be the same again

YPlan offers spontaneous nights out to ‘time poor, cash rich’ Londoners by making it quick, easy and hassle free to arrange a night out in the capital on the fly. Stephen Fry’s already given the iPhone app his blessing on Twitter and YPlan have raised over £1M in investment from Wellington Partners and Octopus Investments.

Their ‘effortless transaction’ model, where they try to minimise the number of steps to buy a ticket, is taking on Time Out, Groupon and Ticketmaster in London’s vast events scene.

Watch an intro video below:

Tech City News met up with Rytis Vitkauskas, the founder of YPlan, and his business partner Viktoras Jucikas at Shoreditch Grind, to hear how the idea came about.

Rytis and Viktoras met at University in Germany 10 years ago, and over time acquired the skills and background to start a business but weren’t gifted with an idea.

Viktoras, YPlan’s CTO, worked for Goldman Sachs for six years before moving into the startup world. Rytis attended Harvard Business school before being involved in a number of projects that eventually led him back to Rytis. With their background they were well placed to start up Tech City or Silicon Valley, but as they discuss on their blog, London won them over.

YPLAN WAS IDEA NO.51

“First you have to think ‘what is the problem’” Rytis says. “YPlan was our idea number 51” . As you would expect from a former venture capitalist and a Harvard Business School graduate, they did their research.

“25% of Londoners have an iPhone” Rytis confidently declares and believes iOS users were the right market to target for the launch.

Apple have trained people to pay for things with their mobile and this means we have the opportunity to sell a desirable product to people who are out and about, which most Londoners with an iPhone constantly are.

Rytis clearly sees this chance to sell and promote his network of events as one not to waste, a phrase that comes up a number of times whilst we talk:

We’re very very careful not to annoy our users.

Being spontaneous is the key message behind YPlan. For the app to take off people must be willing to plan on the day, pay on the go and have mates willing to do the same.

There are no booking fees, purchases are slick within the app and although they send a few push notifications per week, users can opt out of them altogether.

YPlan are based near Kings Cross on Pentonville Road and have assembled a team from lastminute.com, Time Out and Toptable. The business model is simple, they take a cut of ticket sales, leaving the app free from banner adverts.

THE TECH CITY NEWS ROAD TEST

Last night we tried it out, and were impressed. YPlan is gorgeous to use right from opening the orange icon to showing your in-app ‘eticket’ at the venue. We flicked through a beautifully laid out list of events, chose one (Cutting Edge Comedy in Soho), selected the amount of tickets and with one confirm click we were done.

YPlan asks you to enter your card details once, after your first purchase they’re stored, allowing for a one click checkout. Users of Hailo and Uber taxi apps expect instant payments and we’re seeing this as a more and more common feature in apps.

Booking tickets on your phone up until now has involved a fiddly mobile browser, putting in your card details every time, and wondering how you’ll print the tickets, and then the nasty shock of hidden booking fees. YPlan’s user experience is designed to rid you of these annoyances.

USING UP SPARE CAPACITY

Ticketmaster and other sites stop selling tickets 24-48 hours before an event, YPlan don’t stop until it’s a sell out. They negotiate an exclusive discount from venues that wouldn’t otherwise be able to shift leftover tickets. Sometimes they can provide a perk such as a free drink or a meal token to entice spontaneous users, meaning everyone in the chain benefits.

WHAT’S NEXT

Rytis and Vik were quick to defend their decision to launch on iOS first, but they plan to launch an Android version later this year. It is easy to see how the business is scalable as more smartphone owners download the app.

£5 billion pounds is made every year in the UK event ticketing industry and for every pound made there’s a pound not made due to unsold tickets and half empty venues, YPlan can change that

The pair told us how spending time in San Francisco, a city that both of them were not familiar with, gave them them the inspiration behind YPlan. In the longer term they’d love guests to London to use the app to find events that they normally wouldn’t be able to find.

They have aspirations to expand YPlan worldwide, and it’s fitting that San Francisco is Rytis and Viktoras’ favoured start point. But for now the pair are focussing on growing in the UK and developing their Android app.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD YPLAN FOR  IOS (FREE)