If you live in NY or SF, chances are you’ve heard of Sosh, the activity concierge that serves up things to do in your city with nary a search query on your part. Well, today, the company has raised a $10.1 million Series B led by Khosla Ventures to fuel expansion into new cities.
Current investors Battery Ventures also participated in the new round, along with the addition of co-founder of Instagram Mike Krieger, former CEO of the Washington Post (as of a few weeks ago) Don Graham, and former President and Chief Marketing Officer of Polo Ralph Lauren Hamilton South. More over, Keith Rabois (formerly of Square and Yelp!) will join the board of directors.
Just in case you don’t live in SF or NY, Sosh is to activities as Songza is to music. Instead of searching for things to do and connecting with friends, Sosh acts as a concierge, automatically surfacing the best activities and events in the areas where you hang out.
Sosh founder Rishi Mandal explained that he was delighted to bring these visionaries aboard and receive feedback. For one, Krieger’s experience in building a social graph based on hundreds of thousands of data points will be “invaluable” to the Sosh team, as will Graham’s experience in content and publishing.
Mandal expects that Sosh’s 200 explicit and 1,000 implicit data points per user should make for some fun homework for Krieger.
Plus, Sosh’s long-term vision goes much further than a free, activity recommendation app. Eventually, claims Mandal, Sosh will become its own marketplace for artisans (such as bar owners, chefs, artists, etc.) to market classes or events in a highly engaged atmosphere, with Sosh taking part of the transaction.
That said, Keith Rabois is a huge win for the Sosh team. Before he was a chief officer at Square, Rabois led the team at Yelp!. Clearly, he’s right in the sweet spot between monetizing a new marketplace and offering quality content to hungry users.
But for now, the team is focused on laying the groundwork. Before evangelizing to small businesses and artisans, Sosh first needs to penetrate the market fully (expansion) and really understand what you want to do, before you’ve ever even thought about it.
“Right now we’re gathering information on over 100,000 users in multiple cities, like where they go, with whom, and how much they usually spend,” said Mandal. “The roadmap over the next two years is to help businesses understand that data and use it. Essentially, we want to create new inventory for businesses so they can tap into the customers they don’t have yet, but that are showing clear interest in their products, services, etc.”
Sosh has previously raised a $4 million Series A led by Battery, and after achieving high penetration in SF (1 in 10 San Franciscans has the app) the team launched the app in NY just four months ago. According to Rishi, user acquisition in the big city is just as positive as it is in SF, with a third of Sosh’s user base residing in NY.
With the funding, Sosh will bring its activity concierge to 10 major cities over the next year, hiring engineers and editorial curators to keep up with scale and “keep the quality bar high,” as Mandal puts it.
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