With more than 10 million members per year, IRL turns its events website into a social media network.
IRL, the event discovery network, raised a $ 16 million Series B round last fall.The launch of a new website that will include additional social features for events, such as chats, profiles, and the possibility to join groups, as well as other features With these changes, visitors can also receive personalised recommendations on events as well as participate in group events and discuss events with their acquaintances, both on the mobile web and the web. All of these features help IRL.com look more like an online event search engine and more like a genuine social network.
The company, which initially focused on events in the real world, could have easily collapsed in the past due to the COVID-19 virus, which effectively stopped the in-person events business overnight. But instead, it swiftly redesigned its app for discovering events to incorporate virtual events. This month, IRL was able to adapt to the government’s lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings in person with the indexing of online events like livestreamed concerts and esports games as well as Zoom parties, among others.
In some ways, these changes made IRL more accessible because it became a tool that anyone could use, rather than just those with the means and time to travel to and attend live events.
In line with those changes, the company this year updated its mobile application to allow users to find events that they can attend from a distance.
It has organised events into categories such as gaming television, music and wellness podcasts, sports, lifestyle, and much more, which includes the ones that are sourced from partners such as TikTok, Meetup, Twitch, Spotify, SoundCloud, HBO, Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, and many more. (We’re also experiencing Apple TV and programmes on this site; however, IRL cannot confirm whether Apple is an official partner. (We’ve been told that IRL has permission to show these events, however.)
The brand new IRL website is intended to reflect the revamped mobile-friendly experience.
If users join IRL.com for the first time, they will be able to select the categories of events they are interested in and connect with their acquaintances who already use the site.
like the mobile app You can now select filters at the very top of the website to narrow down categories of events that include music, gaming TV, sports, wellness lifestyle, podcasts, and more. You can also filter out events that will be happening this weekend or browse IRL’s suggestions in the form of “Top Picks.”
The website allows users to set up groups of their own with friends using the chat feature that is built-in and was previously only accessible on mobile devices.
“Because everybody’s at home, there’s a big demand for a Web messenger,” writes IRL CEO and founder Abraham Shafi.
He says that the company’s emphasis on messaging as the foundation for the group is the reason that makes it possible for IRL to distinguish itself from other group-oriented products. Facebook Groups, as an example, are based on the concept that discussion forums are a way to communicate, he says. However, IRL is creating their social media platform around messages.
“Group chatting apps do not allow you to add events,” Shafi says. Using this is useful for groups that have upcoming or planned activities. For example, you could choose a television show that interests you, or you could have your friends watch “Among Us” or play video games. “On IRL, you can imagine any kind of group, like a book group meeting regularly and having regular events,” he says.
Students who sign up with a.edu email address can now access on-campus events and groups that were previously only available to students at the same institution.They aren’t usually indexed publicly and aren’t available on IRL’s homepage. IRL homepage.
The company’s emphasis on group chats has seen the app grow despite the spread of the pandemic.
The company currently has over 10 million active monthly users. Since August, its group messaging service has grown by around 30% per month. Today, there are more than 30 million chats that are sent IRL every day, and more than a billion messages have been sent so far, Shafi says.
As time passes, IRL plans to expand the site to incorporate more local events and also strengthen its relationships with its partners.
For instance, the IRL TikTok account was the first account to have more than 1 million followers. However, at present, all events TikTok publishes to the website are curated by hand. IRL is developing a more robust integration, which will help draw in additional TikTok content, including the latest trends.
The company is also hoping to draw more influencers through the website launch, such as those looking to create their reputation as “cool curators” of a particular type of event, such as the Sneakerheads accounts, for instance, that track sneaker releases.
When users use this website to follow events by making friends and joining chats, IRL can provide better suggestions on what kinds of events to go to the next time.
As the world heals from COVID by allowing people to attend events in person again, the company expects that use will increase.
“When in-person returns – which is unavoidable – we’ll certainly support that,” Shafi adds, adding that he expects IRL to eventually “explode.”
“We’re not planning to take Virtual off. “Virtual will always be around, in fact, and it’s likely to be an amalgam,” he says. “This pandemic has allowed us to focus on something that will actually help us grow once we can support both the real and the remote.”
“Me and the team are very grateful that we’ve had the opportunity to build something deeply meaningful in these times–even though at the outset, it would have seemed like we were screwed,” Shafi states.
Initially, IRL tested the web application’s new layout initially, but only with current users. But the new website is now making the changes accessible to all users.