October 6, 2011
“It’s all about the people” is a phrase I’ve heard several times in Korea, and it also helps explain Seoul startup Partymonster, which offers discounts in one of the most social, “who you know” industries: nightclubs.
“The lofty goal is to become what Live Nation is in the United States,” says Mike Sim, who met cofounder Peter Yoon while in college in Illinois.
The most important person the Partymonster team knows is probably cofounder Rodney Yim, who also cofounded Seoul Space, where the startup is housed. Because of Yim’s connections – he founded CP Entertainment, did artist bookings and networking with venue owners, and represented Stevie Wonder and the Pussycat Dolls – Partymonster has an in with many of Seoul’s hottest nightclubs and needs no other sales team.
Partymonster offers a 50-60% discount on club admission tickets, and they take 50% of the profits. And nightclubs are still happy with the remaining 25%, Sim says; they normally let many VIPs in for free to generate buzz and attract crowds. Plus, Partymonster customers may want to linger – and buy more drinks – to get their money’s worth.
To join the party, users just pay on the website, get put on the guest list, and show their ID and coupon number at the door, like a daily deal. This model has attracted more than 1,600 users since their launch earlier this year, Sim says, with an average age of 26. He thinks this focused demographic gives Partymonster an edge in the nightlife business, over competitors like TicketMonster and Groupon. But if they want to grow as big as their competitors, they may need to attract a few more well-connected salespeople.
Partymonster has also scheduled a concert with a famous electronic artist in December or January, though they’re not saying who. This is part of their long-term plan to host mid-sized concerts, which are less common in Seoul due to the lack of appropriate venues. But now that huge nightclubs are opening up – like Ellui, fitting 4,000 people – second-tier artists will have a place to exhibit. And, with luck and a few pulled strings, Partymonster will be backstage doing the planning.
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