Business Insider: Virtual Nightclub Startup Shaker Opens Doors On A Hot Trend: Social Discovery

From Business Insider:

Expectations are running high for Shaker, a startup which is hoping to mix up the online social scene with the opening of Club 53 tomorrow.

At Club 53, Shaker’s first virtual hangout, users will be able to listen to music, sneak off to private rooms, and bump into new folks on the floor.

It's taking part in a hot trend called social discovery—technology which helps you find new people, not just people you already know in real life.

Shaker has raised more than $20 million from Menlo Ventures and other investors, who include some well-connected people on the music scene: Troy Carter, Lady Gaga's manager, and Scooter Braun, who manages Justin Bieber.   

The startup uses Facebook’s friends lists—or social graph—to color-code chatters. Friends are blue, while friends of friends are yellow.

Want to connect? Buy a virtual drink. Water (for the designated drivers?) is free, while fake cocktails cost money. Those virtual-goods purchases are a potentially lucrative revenue stream.

More money-making partnerships are with Live Nation, the concert-promoting giant, and BandPage, a social application musicians use to connect with fans. Shaker aims to bring musicians into chat rooms to perform and chat with fans. With the opening of Club 53, Shaker is bringing in Far East Movement and other artists touring with Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.

One of the founders, Yonatan Maor, came up with the idea when he was enjoying a dinner out with his dad. "How come these live, vivid experiences don’t happen on social networks?” he asked.

So far, the Shaker experience has been positive. Between winning the TechCrunch Disrupt competition in September and its public launch today, the startup hosted a New Year’s Eve event in partnership with ABC, launched a virtual gathering for the NBA All Star game where fans could talk with players, and brought together people all over the world for a peace conference where Hilary Clinton spoke.

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