Mumbai-based FNB City Media Pvt. Ltd, operator of hyperlocal nightlife mobile app Happitoo, has suspended operations after finding it difficult to raise fresh investment and achieve positive unit economics, co-founder Hemant Jain told TechCircle.
"We couldn't scale up and reach a minimum threshold of downloads. Whatever funds we had dried up in building the product for a larger geography," said Jain, who has joined as the business head of digital operations and senior executive vice president at Lokmat Media Pvt. Ltd.
Happitoo is one of several location-based nightlife aggregator apps such as Instabounce, Partiko, OUWT and Guestlist that sprung up over the past couple of years or so. These apps list events and gigs on their platform and enable users to explore offers at restaurants, pubs and clubs to attract a young urban population looking for hangout spots.
Some of these apps, including Happitoo, also raised funding last year. But not a single one has raised a follow-on round this year, as investors tighthen their purse strings and look for profitability at startups instead of focusing on revenue growth.
Happitoo last year raised Rs 50 lakh (nearly $77,000) in angel funding. Jain, who founded Happitoo in September 2013 along with Ravi Raj Meena, said that raising funds on time is critical for nightlife aggregators as it is an operation-intensive business.
Jain has about 18 years of experience in the mobile value-added services segment and new media. He had earlier worked at companies such as Radio City, Hungama, Reliance WebWorld and Mudra Communications. Co-founder Meena is an IIT Bombay graduate. He has now joined Kuwait-based gaming events company Fikra Ltd as chief technology officer.
Jain also said that they are in talks with a couple of people who are interested in the value that could be created out of Happitoo. He believes there is an opportunity in nightlife aggregation but said the segment faces several challenges.
"It is a little ahead of time from a consumer's perspective and is a tough category to operate in," he said. "At one end you have deals and discounts platform for restaurants and pubs. And on the other, there are players like BookMyShow that also provide nightlife options."
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