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Bad Night Out Inspires Student To Develop Unique App For Going Out

“Who’s out tonight, where’s everybody at?” 
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A “rubbish night out” has led a medicine student to create a unique app to track friends at the area’s ‘hottest’ bars.

Thomas Whitelaw, a fourth-year medicine student in Dundee, created the app after a night out to celebrate the end of exams ended with him and his pals out of pocket – and out of time to get into another club.

After paying cover charges at various bars in Dundee, only to find them nearly empty, the idea for Hoos Out Tonight was born.

The app, which has over 3,000 users so far, allows users to see which friends are in which bars – and to track how many people are currently in a venue.

“The idea came after the end of our big exams,” said 23-year-old Thomas.

“We’d left the flat, as always, asking, “Who’s out tonight, where’s everybody at?”

“We went to a nightclub and paid a fiver for entry – and we went in, and it was dead.

“We were a bit annoyed, so left and went to another bar. We paid more money to get into that bar, and nobody was there.

“We finally got to the nightclub where there were people we knew, and people we wanted to hang out with – and by this time, it was 2:30 and the bouncer said it was too late and we can’t come in.

“We were out in the street, we’d paid £20 to get into various bars, and we’d still had a rubbish night.

“I’d never thought about making an app before.

“I thought we could make a tool that would help people to find fun, busy places that are in the right price range.

“I wanted to answer the question that everyone asks in university cities – who’s out tonight?”=

Thomas initially tried to find students to work with as programmers, but after struggling to find a partner, he pitched his idea to angel investors and secured funding.

Funding was used to hire a software developer, who worked with Thomas for several months before the app was officially launched.

Thomas believes the app provides a fun way to meet up with friends and find the city’s “hottest” bars through the map feature – and maintains that safety was a top priority when designing the map.

“The most important feature of the app is the Hoos Out Tonight map, which shows you all the venues in your city and you can see where your friends are – people you’ve added on the app.

“You can see how busy a venue is – whether 100 people are there or 5 people are there so you can make the right choice.

“The safety aspect is important to us – it’s not just a way to see where everybody is.

“You add a friend, they add you back, and then you can see where they are.

“You can’t see what street they’re walking on, just when they get to the nightclub or the bar.

“We’ve also started partnering with businesses to offer discounts at lots of venues for cheaper drinks or free entry.

“We’ve signed up about 10 partners – we call them ‘hot venues’ – and they are venues that advertise on our app, and they’ve loved it as well.

“They get a lot more customers through the door in the quite tough landscape of the nightlife industry.”

The app also features a leaderboard, where users who visit bars in their area can score points – with the top scorer last month bagging a pair of TRNSMT tickets.

Thomas hopes to bring the service to Perth, Stirling and St. Andrews later this year, with the aim of expanding to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen in early 2025.

Despite sometimes finding it difficult to balance the work alongside his studies, Thomas says he wouldn’t change a thing.

“It’s been a crazy ride, but it’s been amazing,” he said.

“I never thought I’d do something like this, but the success it’s had has made me so proud.

“It’s been tough to balance with doing medicine.

“During the day, I go to classes and to the wards, and then when I’m finished, I’m trying to make sure everyone’s having a good time.

“But it’s completely changed my life – it’s been great, and I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

“Now that it’s done well – and I’m very happy that it has – we’ll launch in various Scottish cities, then English cities, and hopefully worldwide.”

        Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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