News & Analysis

Adelaide startup Little Birdy is leveraging ibeacon technology to enhance the nightlife experience

- June 19, 2015 2 MIN READ

There’s nothing worse than spending time getting ready for a night out only to arrive at a venue and find that it’s full or, worse, that there’s absolutely no atmosphere.

Adelaide startup Little Birdy is looking to solve that problem and make sure everybody has a great night out by showing them where their friends are and what’s going on at different venues in real time.

The app leverages iBeacon technology to track who is at which venue at any given time. A beacon installed at a venue will be able to connect to the Bluetooth on visitors’ phones when they are within range, relaying that information back to the server. Users can also check into a venue directly.

Founder Jack Haines said the idea for the app came from his own experiences going out.

“We thought there had to be a real time way of knowing what was going on out in town without having live streaming cameras set up,” he said.

App users can see how many people are at a bar or club, which venue has specials going, where their friends are, tell friends where they’re going and ask them to join, and receive rewards for taking photos of and posting comments about a venue.

Meanwhile, the app allows venues to advertise directly to people who are out and about and prompt nearby users to visit, tell people what’s going on at the venue in real time, and track visitor statistics.

Venues can currently only track attendance numbers, but will soon be able to look at things like age and gender demographics, entry and exit times, and the duration of the average stay. They will also be able to message ‘VIP’ or frequent guests directly through the app.

The kind of data to be tracked by Little Birdy will undoubtedly prove valuable to venues, who will be able to refine their marketing and see what is or isn’t working inside their venue.

For Haines, the communication element is what makes Little Birdy different from the myriad other social event listing platforms.

“We see Little Birdy as being the hospitality industry’s ‘go-to’ for communication with the people that matter to them most – those that are out and about and are looking for what is available,” he said.

The development of the app was largely self funded by Haines, while a number of friends also invested some money into the project. He brought an Adelaide-based development company, Digital Noir, on board to create the app, with the company taking an equity stake in the startup.

There are now 40 venues around Adelaide using the app, with more now contacting the startup to have beacons installed.

According to Haines, the app will always be free for users, while all venues will also be entered into the directory free of charge. They will also be able to maintain their venue page and post into the feed for free, though Haines plans to monetise Little Birdy down the line by charging venues a subscription fee to access statistics and enable messaging.

Haines expects Little Birdy to launch in Sydney and Melbourne within three to six months, and across Australia within a year. Given that Adelaide, once known as Melbourne’s frumpy, unfashionable cousin, is developing a booming bar scene that may just rival that of its Victorian counterpart, it may just be the best city in which to test out the app.

The current focus is securing the Adelaide space. Little Birdy is running monthly pub crawls to encourage people to get out and about using the app.