Tech Pitch: Explovia

The MD behind London’s new “word of mouth” app discusses life as a tech start-up business

Company name: Explovia
Managing director: Jason Keiles
Background: Worked at Group Commerce, Getty Images and Virgin
Based in: Holborn

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

Explovia is a new, free mobile messaging app designed to spark conversations around events worth sharing in London. Think Time Out meets WhatsApp! Launching initially for iPhone, it lets users browse a curated shortlist of London events, buy tickets within the app and invite friends via a unique free messaging function.

  • Explovia presents a spectrum of eclectic London events and experiences, from over 100 event partners, which range from underground supper clubs in East London to guest list access at the capital’s best clubs, and everything in between.
  • Users will be able to customise their ‘Explore’ feed to create a bespoke monthly diary of events tailored to their interests.
  • Booking is a simple, two tap process; tickets are stored on your mobile enabling users to walk right into the venue with their iPhone serving as proof of purchase.

Where Explovia really begins to look very different to the obvious competitors (TimeOut, YPlan), however, is that it’s built on a free messaging service. Upon registration, Explovia accesses users’ iPhone contacts, in the manner of Viber or WhatsApp, to set users up to message friends for free and spark conversations.

The ultimate ambition with Explovia is to create a new kind of mobile network that fosters word of mouth excitement around brand content. Right now, we’re starting with events, which are inherently social, but we want to grow Explovia into a media where users spark conversations over topics that are really important to them: like where to go out, but also what to wear, what to buy and what to listen to.

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

Collectively, the Explovia team has clocked up over a 100 years of London living but we’re constantly nagged by a sense that we don’t get the most out of what the city has to offer. Our research suggests that by serving up events really worth sharing on your phone Explovia can inspire Londoners to make the most of London, win them some kudos for being in the know, create some fun and add some value to their social diaries along the way.

As Explovia scales, and sparks more conversations, we hope to connect our users together over shared passions for brands and their content.

Are you funded?

Explovia is currently privately funded.

What were you doing before starting?

  • Jonathan Lewis, CEO, is an internet entrepreneur and investor
  • Jason Keiles, MD, ex Group Commerce, Getty Images, Virgin
  • Will Handley, marketing director, ex News UK
  • Matt Varughese, CTO, ex Goldman Sacchs

What the best thing about where you’re based?

We love the buzz of Holborn. To be London’s “word of mouth app”, Explovia needs to be based in the heart of London where we’re able to stay abreast of everything that’s worth knowing about. Between Soho and Shoreditch, Clapham and Camden, Holborn is the ideal home for us. Here we’re surrounded by many of our peers, other early stage companies, which enables us to feed off of one another’s energy, creativity and aspiration. Furthermore, we sit between a number of venture capital firms and other potential investors from the West End to the City. Holborn is home!

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