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Mobile apps can now get you entry in nightclubs

Mobile apps can now get you entry in nightclubsNEW DELHI: Recently, 23-year-old Delhi-based student Anmol Gupta found that entering a five-star nightclub in the city with a bunch of friends was a breeze compared to his previous attempts.

The difference? Use of a mobile app that helped him book a table and give him easy access.

"A mobile app is one of the easiest ways to make bookings at fancy places, that too at the last minute," said Gupta, who has been using the application for the past two months. Event organizers, restaurants and nightclubs are experimenting with concierge apps to tap the on-the-go, digitally savvy consumer.

Some have made their own apps or have roped in developers, while others are working on similar plans.

The mobile apps not only provide information about events such as concerts, gigs and parties, but also act as payment gateways, besides offering deals and discounts for customers. Some of these firms are seeking funds from investors to expand operations. InstaBounce — an app that lists curated lifestyle events like concerts and parties — is seeking Rs 1 crore in funding.

"We are in talks with investors at the moment and will raise money for expanding into markets like Mumbai and Pune," said Harman Singh Sahni, founder of InstaBounce, which has almost 5,000 users.

Having been in the events industry for a few years, Sahni realized that most people in Delhi make last-minute bookings for events. That gave him the idea of launching an app that would not only provide a list of 10-15 events a day in a city — currently only Delhi — but also enable users to make bookings, payments and grab good deals or discounts, even at the last minute.

"Event organizers are left with unsold inventory which goes waste. So, the app works for everyone," added Sahni, who works with clubs and destinations such as Kitty Su, Farzi Cafe, Shalom, Panagea and Raasta.

Kitty Su, a club in one of Delhi's five-star hotels, is developing a mobile app to connect better with its regulars and reach out to a new audience as it expands. Kitty Su started its Chandigarh branch this week and will soon open in Mumbai. Sunburn, a music, entertainment, food, shopping and lifestyle event organized in Goa and Noida, has an app too.

"We are working on a new upgrade which will allow users to get more involved at our events with features like friend finder, GPS-enabled maps and live social media interaction," said Shailendra Singh, joint managing director of Percept, which owns the event.

Mobile apps are now essential for most businesses, especially in the entertainment space for ease of access and to be one-on-one with the customer at all times, he added.

Delhi-based Natasha Jain, the founder of a mobile payment app called Ruplee, has started in Delhi and is launching in Pune and Mumbai. It has close to 100 merchants on board, mostly restaurants, and the app has 15,000 active users, according to Jain. "We are looking to raise around $1.5 million," she said.

For apps that are aggregation platforms for vendors, revenue comes from a 10-12% commission on transaction value — charged from the vendor and not the users — and/or a listing fee.

Other ways of making money include selling the user database and charging merchants for providing information based on user analytics. Priyank Sukhija, a Delhi-based restaurateur who runs over 20 outlets, says one of them — Warehouse Cafe — did sales of Rs 30 lakh in one month via the Ruplee app. "Our customers are using the app to make bill payments.

Around 25% of the credit card transactions are now coming through a mobile app," said Sukhija, who also plans to develop an in-house app for his chain of restaurants and clubs.

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