Event matching platform Surkus sees HK as 1st stop in Asia foray

August 09, 2018 11:56
Hong Kong was the first choice for Surkus' Asia business expansion, CEO Stephen George says. Photo: HKEJ

Los Angeles-based event technology startup Surkus has targeted Hong Kong as its starting point for overseas business expansion. Founded in 2015, the US firm completed a US$10 million series B round of funding in May.

The platform serves as a bridge between activity or event hosts and attendees. It works with organizers on activities such as brand events, concerts and art performances.

Chief Executive Stephen George told the Hong Kong Economic Journal recently that Surkus has big plans for Hong Kong as its first overseas market. George, who was once head of operations at Groupon, believes Surkus' event matching platform has much potential.

How the platform works

First, members have to input their personal information and preferences in their registration to the Surkus platform. Through an algorithm involving big data, the Surkus platform’s system then matches suitable attendees to an event, drawing on data from a database. The attendees will then receive a notification corresponding to that event.

Members will enter a selection stage after they express interest in attending the event. If members are picked by the system, their admission tickets will be arranged for pick-up. Or they can just use the Surkus app for admission when the event takes place. 

Members can join all the events listed in the platform for free. The only requirement is they have to post a photo on their personal Instagram account, and write briefly on their feelings toward an event and add hashtags to the text.

If they fail to do so, their membership bonus will be deducted, affecting their chance of being chosen for future events.

In the US, Surkus' event matching service is said to have a mode where members could get paid to attend an event. But the company has opted not to introduce such facility in Hong Kong, for the time being.

Asia expansion

George said it is time for Surkus to reach out to markets in Asia, given its success in the US where it has secured more than 500,000 active members and conducted more than 5,200 matching events for 1,500 brands.

Explaining the decision to pick Hong Kong as the first location for his firm's overseas business expansion, George noted that Hong Kong is a very important international market, with a well-established infrastructure for doing business.

The Surkus platform was officially launched in Hong Kong in June, and has so far organized about 20 matching activities, including a hotel pool party and a concert, here.

As the next target, the startup plans to venture into Singapore in the fourth quarter of this year. The company aims to take its footprint next year to several other Asian cities, including Seoul. 

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 8

Translation by Jonathan Chong

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Surkus cooperates with brands and event organizers and matches attendees to events, relying on a system that makes use of big data. Photos: Surkus, Internet

Hong Kong Economic Journal