You might think the market for curated lifestyle activities was full enough. And in one sense you’re right: Groupon Getaways, LivingSocial Adventures and Escapes, and Google Offers have capitalized on the daily deals aspect of the market, plus Foursquare and Yelp have decidedly cornered local.
Still, the age-old question “what should I do” remains. Users of any and all of these services have likely found themselves wondering how best to fill the time, and there are moments when all of the check-ins and discounts aren’t enough to help you make a decision. Between all of these services, taking advantage of what a city has to offer has perhaps gotten easier, but it’s also gotten overwhelming.
So perhaps there is more room, and Sosh is going to try and find it. The curated local activities Website launched about a year ago after CEO Rishi Mandal and other members of the Slide team were acquired by Google. Mandal explains that going from Slide to Google was a major transition and that he and several other members felt more comfortable in the startup space. “Starting our own thing made the most sense,” he tells me. So they began Sosh, which wants to provide an answer to the “what should we do?” question we all keep asking.
“Millions of people go to Google and search ‘things to do’,” Rishi says. “It’s as popular a query as ‘Justin Bieber.’”
In addition to accruing a wide variety of activities (hiking, cooking, eating, happy hours where you can paint – the options run the gamut), Sosh also learns from your usage to better its suggestions. Rishi says that the team of curators also help keep quality high. “We do have humans look at everything before it goes on the site, so they can say ‘no I’ve been to this place and it sucks.’”
The site has spent the last year focusing solely on San Francisco and its Web based application. Now, it has launched its iPhone app. It’s a necessary complement to Sosh, especially for something that’s activity focused. Rishi says that the Web app sees activity spike during the week, but on Friday and Saturday when users are already out, the mobile app sees increased use.
It’s been something of a slow rollout, but now that Sosh has its Web and mobile app fully up and running, it’s time to expand into new territory. During the second half of this year Rishi says Sosh will hit new metros and that right now they are trying to line up teams in the possible locations to learn more about them and start the discovery process.
Honestly, I’m surprised the mobile-local-e-commerce industry hasn’t been exhausted yet. But no one app has quite been able to solve the problem at the front of it. We’ll have to wait until Sosh hits more markets to find out if it has the answer.