Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

SF Hipster Favorite Sosh Raises $4M

An app that helps people in San Francisco figure out what to do on weekends has developed a rabid following.

Sosh is the ultimate hipster app — it curates things that are new, fun, weird and memorable. If something gets bookmarked by too many people, it’s no longer pushed to other users. And for now, it’s only in San Francisco.

As Sosh CEO Rishi Mandal put it yesterday, “A Kanye concert won’t make it, but a secret hipster bluegrass show by The Head and the Heart will.”

Sosh just closed $4 million in Series A funding led by Battery Ventures. But wait, venture-backed start-ups are supposed to be scalable, right? In this case, not yet, but Mandal said Sosh plans to tackle New York and family-friendly activities next.

The company may be small — it’s been live for about a year — but it has a rabid following. More than half of registered users visit every week, according to Mandal, and 30 percent of all the personalized emails the company has sent have been opened. The average user is 29 years old, female, and already connected to nine Sosh members (through Facebook) on the first day she joins.

Sosh serves up about 500 activities, places, venues and curiosities per weekend in San Francisco, based on a process of crawling the Web, filtering out 75 percent for being bland, and then green-lighting picks by hand. It runs a site, an iPhone app and sends emails.

The company doesn’t have a sales team, though it has developed relationships with local merchants after they ask where a swarm of people is coming from, according to Mandal. “The thing local is missing is people coming back of their own volition,” he said. Sosh also has special events for active users, a la Yelp, and a popular T-shirt (see above).

Founded by alumni of the app company Slide, Sosh had previously raised $1 million from investors such as Keith Rabois, Naval Ravikant, Sequoia Capital and Redpoint Ventures.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google