Reserving table service at a popular nightclub on a bustling Saturday night can seem impossible. Boston-based startup Tablelist, however, aims to make that process easier by giving everyone the chance to get VIP treatment at a click of a button through the app. They’re getting rid of the archaic system of booking tables with promoters or club owners.
Tablelist launched back in December in Boston with plans to grow in other nightclub centric cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, D.C. and internationally. This past week, they announced their expansion into New York with a soft launch.
“We want our users to get the same level of service you get in the city you currently live in at any other location around the world,” says Tablelist founder Julian Jung.
Here’s how it works: Tablelist allows you to book tables on demand by pulling up nightclubs and lounges that are near you. Users can pick their own tables (with a minimum spend depending on locations) and favorite liquors and mixers. Best of all, users can bypass the line, avoid cover, and pay for bottles in advance.
We recently sat down with Jung for this member spotlight series – a series that showcases the individuals behind startups and small businesses. Here’s what he shared:
I grew up in Belmont, a nearby suburb in Massachusetts, and recently graduated from Northeastern University last year. When I was 19, I started getting into real estate and helped students find $500 to $1000 apartments around campus. But it was really tedious work because I was only getting paid a small broker’s fee. After a while, I got fed up and decided to find a niche market – the international students. It was great because a lot of them wanted to pay $3,000 to $6,000 for apartments.
In order to increase my client base, I started clubbing a lot. I found out that a group of them would migrate to the clubs on the weekends and spend anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 a night, so it was the perfect place to find new clients. Eventually I got close with the club owners and bouncers around the Boston area and became pretty addicted to the nightlife world. So Boston is a small fish compared to other metropolitan cities, but that’s what led me to visiting New York, Vegas and other places all around the world.
The inspiration for Tablelist was born after a New Year’s trip to Brazil, and I couldn’t get into a nightclub. I thought, “In a world where we can easily rent cars through an app, why isn’t there technology to solve this? Why can’t I get the same level of service I get in New York City or Vegas in Brazil?”
To me, being an entrepreneur means having the freedom do what you love. You have the ability to sculpt and build something completely from scratch and really call it your own. I never worked a corporate job in my life because I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart.
I think our company is incredibly special because we’re the first to enter this space. Table service is an $8 billion a year industry and it’s usually handled primarily off-line. We’re making it accessible to everyone. Not only is this app great for the consumer, it’s also awesome for the venue owners as well. We’re doing some data mining and providing analytics about user profiles. At the end of the day, I look at this as a tech company, not a nightlife company.