KickOn, the ‘Tinder for Parties and Events,’ Launches in the U.S.

You better swipe right on my birthday bash.

Because everyone loves swiping, we guess? (KickOn)
Because everyone loves swiping, we guess? (KickOn)

Because everything’s more fun when it involves judgmental swiping — News! Wedding gifts! — a newly-launched app is claiming to be the Tinder for parties and events.

Australian app KickOn, which launched yesterday in the U.S., is a lot like the famed dating app, but instead of connecting horny singles, it matches party hosts with attendees.

“We want to change the way the world parties forever,” KickOn founder and CEO, Charlie Stewart, told Betabeat when he stopped by our office earlier today.

KickOn lets you search for events that are happening nearby, we learned as Mr. Stewart demo’d the app for us.

If you’re not particularly interested in attending, say, that party at an overpriced Murray Hill bar, you can swipe left. If you find something you like, you can swipe right. But you’ll only get a ticket — or a Kicket, as they’re called on the app — if the party’s host swipes right on you, the potential guest. The Kickets come in the form of a QR code, which you’d scan once you reached your desired event.

Charles Stewart, KickOn founder and CEO. (KickOn)
Charles Stewart, KickOn founder and CEO. (KickOn)

“[KickOn’s Tinder-esque format] is a familiar UI/UX that relates to the user base,” Mr. Stewart said, noting that they’re gearing the app toward college students. “Our target market, they are the Tinder users.”

Similar to Uber and Lyft’s passenger rating systems, KickOn lets party hosts rate their attendees. Hosts can designate certain people as “MVPs”, and others as “Party Poopers.” Womp womp. The ratings help future hosts decide whether or not to approve wannabe guests — you wouldn’t want a Party Pooper showing up and ruining your fabulous Halloween bash, would you? On the flip side, partygoers can also rate their hosts.

So what do you do, we asked, if you’ve been labelled a Party Pooper? How do you bounce back from that?

KickOn's rating system. (KickOn)
KickOn’s rating system. (KickOn)

“The main way to pull your [negative] score back is to host popular parties,” Mr. Stewart said. That way, you’ll start getting positive ratings again.

Mr. Stewart, a self-proclaimed lover of partying, got the idea for KickOn late last year, when a party he was attending at Sydney’s Bondi Beach got shut down at 3 a.m..

“I wanted to continue to meet people and enjoy myself,” he said, but he had no easy way to put something together, or find out where to go next.

He started working on the app in Feb. 2014, and soon raised AU$400,000, or US$350,000. KickOn launched in Australia last week, and yesterday made its U.S. debut.

Before starting KickOn, Mr. Stewart had worked as an investment banker, and had also created various other startups.

“As they say in the tech world, sometimes you have to fail a couple of times before you [succeed],” Mr. Stewart said.

Now, Mr. Stewart and KickOn CPO Chanel Silao — yes, that stands for Chief Party Officer — are in New York meeting with investors in the hopes of completing another round of funding, and eventually opening up NYC offices.

It remains to be seen whether KickOn will pull through. After all, it’s up against a few other big competitors in the events discovery space, like YPlan and Fever. Still, Mr. Stewart said that investor response so far has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

Like any good, perhaps overly ambitious founder, Mr. Stewart wants KickOn to eventually be as popular as Snapchat.

“We want to be the next viral app,” he said. KickOn, the ‘Tinder for Parties and Events,’ Launches in the U.S.