Sosh, An Activity Curator, Flips The Monetization Switch With An Event Ticketing Marketplace

Sosh has been around since 2011 and brought a curated activities concierge to SF, NY, and Seattle for three years. But today, the app that offers up cool things to do is adding a new layer to the platform in the form of the Sosh Marketplace. Looking to finally introduce a revenue stream, Sosh is allowing vendors, merchants and artisans in NY, SF, and Seattle to submit their event ideas to the platform (instead of being grabbed by Sosh's algorithm and human curators). Once submitted, Sosh handles every aspect of the event, from distribution and promotion to ticket sales. Sosh takes a five percent slice of gross ticket sales. Originally, Sosh chose what events were put on the app and vendors were responsible for handling ticket sales, by either sending the user to a landing page or reservations by email. Today, things become much simpler for them. Sosh's approach to this two-sided marketplace was slow and calculated. Before ever giving merchants a way to pay for a spot on the app, which offers users a highly curated selection of things to do nearby, Sosh focused on quality. The system is both robotic and human. An algorithm scrapes hundreds of sites and determines the quality and popularity of a certain event and Sosh also employs human curators that view every single event before it's published on the app. In this way, Sosh has ensured that users trust the reliability of the platform and continue coming back. Sosh is used by one in six adults aged 20-40 in San Francisco, and has also launched in New York and Seattle. Now that users have been established in all markets, Sosh has opened up the platform to interested merchants and vendors. "The key to building a two-sided marketplace was providing value to merchants before they ever had the option to actively get involved, which is what we've been doing for the past year," said cofounder Rishi Mandal. "Now, we say no to more vendors than we say yes to, because once you've established that quality bar you have the freedom to do what's best for the users." According to Mandal, 99 percent of the interaction between Sosh and brands/vendors/merchants is inbound. In the pilot program, which has been going on for about two months, Sosh has sold over 50 events with an average check-out price of around $130. With the launch of the Marketplace today, Sosh will be expanding the vendor-facing service throughout all of its markets, including forthcoming markets like DC, Boston, Chicago and LA. In the end, the Sosh Marketplace is all about letting artisans focus on what they are good at - their craft - and letting Sosh handle all the things they aren't good at - like promotion and distribution and logistics. "It's our network, and their vision," says Mandal. And, for the first time, it's some revenue.
Jordan Crook

Jordan Crook is a Writer at Gigabuzz, focused on covering early-stage startups, especially those with a technology focus and great perks.

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