With a UX similar to Tinder, is KickOn the answer to Sydney’s ‘nanny state’ lockout laws?
Sydney-based investment banker Charles Stewart is the founder behind the newest talk of the town, party app KickOn. Described as the ‘Tinder’ for parties, it is a free application that allows users to find parties, be invited to them by the host and party on with random new friends and strangers.
According to a media release distributed by KickOn, a NSW Parliamentary enquiry shows evidence that Sydney’s recent lockout laws are having an impact of CBD night life – with many people escaping the city for a night out in the suburbs or heading to Star City Casino, which has actually seen an uplift in younger traffic through the door since the lockout laws came into effect.
“Responsible adults who like to party are being short-changed by nanny state laws, forced to go home at a time when in many other global cities, the party is just getting started,” Stewart said in a statement.
Stewart says he created KickOn because he knew there had to be a better way for responsible people to continue partying past last drinks at 3am.
“Three years ago, the thought of using an app to go on a date based only on a photograph was unheard of – but look at the success of Tinder. We’re using the same philosophy for private parties and creating the ultimate KickOn experience,” he said.
Stewart has raised $400,000 in seed funding for the new venture valuing the company at $4 million. He is currently getting set to embark on a roadshow of sorts, spending three weeks touring the American College scene to introduce the app, and search for the world’s ‘best partiers’. These people will go on to become KickOn brand ambassadors.
“We’re looking for the ultimate host, a social media leader, someone who is open minded and outgoing. They have to be a genuine party animal who embraces the work hard, play hard mentality,” Stewart said in a statement.
The American College scene is an obvious, and strategically sound way for an app like KickOn to gain traction and spill over into mainstream culture. Many of the applications we use these days start off this way. It is also deeply embedded into pop culture how hard American college kids party, especially given the fraternity and sorority aspects of college life.
Though there are certain levels of protection built into the app, such as needing to be invited to the party by a host, instead of just gatecrashing – authorities have expressed some concern over the way the app will be used by the general public.
In an interview published on the Sydney Morning Herald, Police Association President, Scott Weber was quoted saying the app was “fraught with danger”.
He also suggested that police would likely monitor the app, and find and shut down parties that received complaints and that breached alcohol laws. In defence of KickOn though, Stewart said that he forewarned police about the application, prior to it launching.
Although KickOn seems to be focusing on college aged students and above, there is one slight alarm bell that Startup Daily picked up on based on the press release that was sent through this morning. In the tagline, it described itself as the Tinder for parties for 13 – 35 year olds.
Call me old fashioned but I think it’s irresponsible to encourage the type of ‘partying’ that the app is aligning itself with to those under the age of 18. Other than the fact it is illegal, we have seen examples of what happens when teenagers try to run their own parties. Remember 16 year old Corey Worthington’s (Delaney) circa 2008 party that ended up out of control (almost a neighbourhood riot)? The incident, teamed with his ‘attitude’ and trademark yellow sunglasses in the press that followed, made him infamous, but also serves as a warning to what can happen when social media is not used responsibly.
There is nothing stopping a person using KickOn that gets an invite and the details to a party from sharing that information with a wider network of people – and therein lies the risk.
Having said that, I do think that KickOn solves a perceived problem, and that it will gain traction across the ‘after-party’ scene. Whether or not problems will come along with that growth is yet to be determined.