, a startup entertainment website, is kicking off a new business strategy to make money.
The free website asks users to input their preferences for entertainment and then Kithly culls through its own list of activities and events that fit users' lifestyle. Kithly is now opening up its website to even promoters for a fee, giving them access to the people most likely to attend their events, says Co-founder Devin Partlow.
During the month of April, event promoters can sign up on its website to have information about their events sent to Kithly users for free. After the free offer ends, event promoters will hopefully stick around and continue to use the website, at a fee of $5 per event.
“Everyone knows about the big shows and concerts in Baltimore. We are interested in the small and local events,” says Partlow of promoters and organizers who usually don’t have the budget to do much advertising.
“Instead of going onto a campus and hanging up posters or passing out flyers to whomever walks by, we are helping them reach their target market,” he says. “We used to recommend only things we could find for the site. Now, promoters and organizers will pay us to market to our users."
The change in business strategy is another evolution of Kithly since Partlow founded it in 2010. Originally called Hooopla, the idea was to let users of its website share information about events. It then broadened its reach to include information obtained from Facebook and Meetup groups. The company is one of four that graduated from Baltimore City's startup bootcamp Accelerate Baltimore.
Partlow says he now has 6,000 recommendations on the website of places to go and things to do. The recommendations are constantly updated, and include events around the country. Most, though, are in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Kithly’s home base.
“We analyze our users, what kinds of events they like and run it through our algorithm. We recommend things they wouldn’t necessarily hear about,” he says of local comedy clubs and band appearances.
In the last two months, Partlow says that the number of website users and clicks to the website have grown by 70 percent each. He says there are now about 300 users.
Last year, Kithly moved into the Emerging Technology Center in Canton. Kithly received a $25,000 Accelerate Baltimore award from the Canton incubator. Partlow met his cofounder Stacy Weng and advisor Ben Lieblich through CoFoundersLab.com.
Partlow is focusing Kithly on entertainment but may add other areas like sports events in the future. “We are starting with that niche and we’ll see how it works before expanding,” he says.
Source: Devin Partlow, Kithly LLC
Writer: Barbara Pash