SXSW 2014 Launch: Access The Night

We are doing a series of Q&A features around Austin-based companies that are launching their company or their product at SXSW 2014. If you’d like to be featured as well, please use the Submit News button. Today’s feature is with Andrew Tuffin, from Access the Night.

Access the Night LogoQ: Explain what you do in a way that my mom can understand?
Access The Night is a social discovery app that instantly connects you with local entertainment options. We inspire our users to explore their locale through photo-maps, feeds, and forums that capture moments taking place around them in real-time. Anything from whats going on right now at a bar, unique neighborhood food options, outdoor attractions, and concert venues, we show you those experiences first hand.

Q: What was your “lightbulb” moment when you knew you had something?
The moment came during our beta testing stage for our relaunch last summer. All of the pieces came together that we had been working on for the last 8 months, and the true potential of what the platform could do was finally captured. We were showing the app to a group of friends present at the time, and seeing a product that people genuinely wanted to use in their everyday lives was truly invigorating.

Q: What is the “secret sauce” that will make you shine above the competitors?
The capacity for Access The Night to operate as a hyper local entertainment guide, wherever one may go across the world puts us ahead of the curve. I see a lot of value in using ATN as a discovery tool especially for traveling, and the technology we have put in place does not restrict us to markets where we are present in.

Q: Our first breakthrough came when:
When we transitioned from a primary deals service company to social discovery. The interface we originally launched with in 2012 relied on our clients to create the content on the app. We turned the focus towards generating a more socially engaging experience through pictures, one that could grow organically, and lower the dependency on other parties to create the material. We realized the majority of people who are looking for entertainment, are looking to share the same experience as others. A picture speaks a thousand words.

Q: The best advice we’ve received so far has been:
Don’t follow the trends, set them. This advice could apply to any industry, but it is especially relevant in Tech due to its prevalent nature to evolve so rapidly. Our team continuously puts emphasis on innovation and simplicity in attempt to lead the pack. We also make sure we are taking an objective viewpoint on our product. When you work day in and day out on a specific project, you have to step back and realize that something you may feel is understood might not be as innate to those who are looking at your vision for the first time.

About Bryan Menell

Bryan is the Managing Editor for AustinStartup and the CEO of Mahana. He is a co-founder of Capital Factory, an investor and advisor, and runs the popular Austin Tech Happy Hour with his wife.

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