From Nick Barron. Follow him on Twitter @nbarron; email him at nick[AT]borderstan.com.
It can be hard to choose an event space if you don’t know all your options.
That’s the problem new Borderstan startup Partyista, headed by Lauren Wolfe, wants to solve.
Partyista is a search engine for event spaces. Currently the site can give you information for spaces in DC, northern Virginia and southern Maryland. Wolfe said there are plans to expand to her hometown of Detroit, Mich., in March, and then Charlestown, S.C.
“One of the most popular wedding destinations in America,” Wolfe says.
You use the site by choosing your location, event type, number of expected attendees and your budget. You can then refine your search results by a number of criteria, from whether a venue has WiFi to Halal food.
It’s the ability to really hone into what event spaces offer that Wolfe thinks will make Partyista a must-use tool for anyone planning an event.
“Instead of having to painstakingly call hundreds of venues in Washington, DC, you can turn to Partyista and get all of the possible results in a second,” Wolfe says.
The way Partyista knows all this information about event spaces is by manually gathering it. Many places for events don’t make available online the detailed info Partyista wants to help you find.
“It is impossible to scrape the Web or use another popular website’s API (application program interface) for the challenge that Partyista is undertaking,” Wolfe says.
The manual nature of information gathering will require Partyista to hire individuals in other cities if it wants to scale, or expand.
That could be a daunting task for the currently bootstrapped company, but Wolfe is starting to look for investors for Partyista.
“We’ve just begun the process, but hopefully we’ll announce good news soon,” Wolfe says.
Wolfe is also looking at how the site can generate revenue.
“We are currently working to add an advertising plan and a direct booking program to the site,” Wolfe says.