STARTUP OF THE WEEK: So Let’s Roll
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Seated at a table in the back of the eclectic Tejon Street co-working space that he owns, Paul Tamburello spoke excitedly about the events aggregating on So Let’s Roll. Sometimes boozy, sometimes artsy — always weird — the events are designed for the discriminating event-goer.
“I’m always amazed at the diversity of activities on [So Let’s Roll]. I check the app almost every other day and I’m just blown away,” Tamburello said. “Like yesterday, I was looking and there was a punk rock market — it’s a Christmas market, catering to the punk rock culture.”
Developed alongside co-founder Rene Doubleday, the app is a passion project for Tamburello, who has played an integral role in developing the real estate of the lower Highland. Now he hopes to more actively develop the community there, too.
About 12 years ago, Tamburello had the idea for a website called “USA Open Today,” on which real-estate agents could post Denver happenings. It never really got off the ground, but the idea eventually formed the groundwork for his and co-founder Rene Doubleday’s passion project, So Let’s Roll.
So Let’s Roll is an app that works like a user-generated event aggregation tool. Some events are posted by the So Let’s Roll team, while others are supplied by the 1,000 or so registered users. At any given time, the app has an average of 15 to 20 events that show up in the stream up to 24 hours in advance. Filters enable users to adjust time specifications, from four to 24 hours in advance, as well as the event radius, which ranges from two to 50 miles from a user’s location.
Although Denver is well-known as a sports and music city, the So Let’s Roll team wants to showcase lesser known events for newcomers and spontaneous planners of all demographics who are looking to experience the vibrant underpinnings of Denver.
“Santa Pancake Breakfast” at Longmont Museum, “Rainforest Yoga Evenings” at Butterfly Pavilion and “Black Sheep Friday: XXX-Mas Craft Fair” at MoCAD are just some of the events on the roster. Each comes complete with a short description, location and cost if there is one.
The app is lightly curated by the team, so not all events make the cut. So Let’s Roll doesn’t intend to pay heed to overhyped events, say ones at the Pepsi Center, but instead to showcase “one-off, funky” activities — and in so doing, develop a sense of community.
“We are a city of these incredible, small startup, entrepreneurial people who are doing great things. We have people who are teaching classes on permaculture, and they are hosting forums on topics all across the spectrum,” Tamburello said. “It’s all of those fine grain things that make up the soul of a city.”
You may have heard Paul Tamburello’s name before. He’s been called “Little Man” and the “father of rejuvenated Highland” and is a downright fixture in Denver.
Tamburello has been working in real estate development in the Lower Highland neighborhood for about 25 years. As owner of Generator Development and Little Man Ice Cream, his hand can be seen in the redevelopment of Olinger Mortuary and Highland Lofts.
Community building has been at the heart of Tamburello’s development, and the same goes for So Let’s Roll.
“It’s about building a community of people, giving these smaller events a voice and making it possible to think outside the box, be creative and share ideas,” Doubleday said.
Part of building that community is keeping the app free. The app is free both for event organizers and event seekers — and will always be. Although the team has not solidified a revenue model yet, they have some ideas.
So Let’s Roll is in part modeled off of Dojo, a similar app from the U.K. One feature that they hope to recreate is monetized event promotion. Event organizers may one day be able to pay to have an event packaged and promoted under a certain category within So Let’s Roll.
Another potential revenue avenue is white labeling the app — or partnering with brands to curate their own brand-specific events, based on a monthly subscription. Events posted on the white label platforms would also feed into So Let’s Roll’s events, thereby expanding the collective user base. They already have one such partnership with Meta, a motorcycle lifestyle magazine based in Georgia. They are currently exploring other partners.
And in order to expand their, for now, modest number of users, So Let’s Roll is partnering with local event promoters. In exchange for an accessible, free marketing platform, So Let’s Roll can grow their user base, and, by extension, a closer community of individuals who support the Denver underground.
“We are taking it one step further and reaching out to local event organizers, like Two Parts, Souls in Action and Cervantes, who are fighting the good fight against AEG and the big corporate event organizers out there,” said Axie Blundon, So Let’s Roll marketing manager. “We can get coverage of their events putting a strategy behind that community building.”
The app is currently available for iPhone users in the Denver and Boulder area. The app is versatile and can really be launched in any market, but, for now, the team is focused on Colorado.
Co-founders: Paul Tamburello, Rene Doubleday
Employees: one full-time, four part-time; now hiring for a part-time brand ambassador position
Industry: Events planning, software
Incorporated: April 2015
Launched: March 2016
Office: 7222 Tejon St., Denver