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Tablelist: The virtual promoter

Posted by boston.com  December 5, 2013 11:03 AM

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A group of techie co-workers score a career defining deal and are desperate to pop a bottle of champagne in celebration. The tech world is clearly not defined by ‘models and bottles’ but rather by data and coding. Without an ‘in’ at the exclusive club around the corner from their office, the group is left to revel with hot beer and chicken fingers at Bob’s sports bar.

Cue Tablelist, a new app born in Boston, which mainly targets nightclub rookies and connects them to a world that is suddenly not so out of reach.

“Some people do not have access to a relationship with club owners, or promoters, but if they realized the benefits of getting a table they would start to do it more,” said Julian Jung, 23, creator of Tablelist, “we are the skeleton key that connects consumers directly to venues.”

Jung started the app straight out of graduating Northeastern University, when a trip to Brazil inspired him to make an app which facilitates booking tables anywhere in the world.

“Think of an Uber, before them you would never think of getting a black car,” Jung said. “They made it so easy, now more people book SUV’s or black cars for transportation. With bottle service, we want to bridge that gap – your life becomes simpler and you are taken care of all night.”

Tablelist uses your location to pull up clubs near you where you can book tables on demand. The club will know when you arrive, how many people to a table, and what you are ordering – so getting in and setting up is an easy feat. Splitting a table amongst friends, and their respective credit cards, can also be done. Jung wants the days of IOU’s to vanish.

The staff of Tabelist is on call 24/7 to handle any last minute problems. The app also works as a marketing platform for clubs by attracting big spenders to try out new clubs when traveling to different cities The app also gets the money up front, which eliminates the “no show” problems that a lot of restaurants and nightclubs deal with. Additionally, Tablelist collects data on the consumer, which is invaluable to club owners.

“We look to be allies to our venue partners,” Jung said. “We gather so much good information on clients that clubs just don’t have at the moment. Now, they can understand demographics and their table buyers.”

Many apps such as SocialNightlife, BookBottles, and other digital table service apps have tried to this model, but have failed. Legal problems, appealing to a very narrow, niche market or addressing clubs that value their exclusivity versus drawing in the masses are some of the issues that these apps face.

“I think their biggest issue is going to be size of applicable market,” said Ian Ross, 27, partner at Triangle Capital Group, a VC firm, “and true VIP’s will always want the personal touch of a VIP host.”

Jung insists that appealing to a niche isn’t a problem, as nightclubs have become more egalitarian due to the Electric Dance Music movement. More and more nightclubs are hosting famous DJ’s and a ticket is the only thing you need to get in the door. Also, Jung is looking into a way to create a type of VIP section of the app. “I understand that clubs really care about their image and care about who is going to their clubs, so we are working on a way of funneling through and seeing who these clients are,” Jung said.

Tablelist is available in most clubs in Boston, excluding big names like Bijou and Royale. It is looking to expand across the nation and is currently in talks with clubs in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and NYC.

This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and the Boston University News Service.

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