2017 Miclot winner
July 30, 2020

With all the information online today, it still seems there is no streamlined way to bring people together. There is no centralized platform that simplifies and personalizes the creation, coordination, discovery, and accessibility of social events and gatherings.

This is the void that Nicolas Walker ’17 and 10 other tech entrepreneurs are working to solve. Walker is a co-founder and the chief technical officer for The Scene, a mobile app that is a one-stop shop for real shared experiences. By streamlining the social coordination, promotion, ticketing, and door management process, The Scene connects places and events with people.

Now available in the App Store for Apple products, The Scene allows event creators and event goers to connect in a unique way. The app bridges the gap between people searching for events that interests them and event coordinators who want to better engage with them. In many cases, the people may not know about the event with this connection.

Walker has been developing the app since his time at Culver. He and Ryan Gies ’17 won the 2017 Miclot Business Competition, presented by The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur, with a concept called “Pulse.” As the project continued, the name was changed to The Scene, Walker said. They continued to work on the idea until funding started to dry up in February 2019. Gies and another partner moved on and The Scene appeared headed for the virtual scrapyard.

But Walker was passionate about keeping the project going.

Notes from socially distant team meetings.

That is when Calvin Reyes, a student at the University of Virginia, joined him and became the company’s chief executive officer. And the resurrection began. They recruited more team members, and now, the team includes engineers who have interned at such companies as Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. They are spread out across the country, coming together virtually as needed. They are now preparing for their launch this fall at UVA.

Designed to allow local community creators to inform potential consumers of their upcoming events, the app was tested and validated on the UVA campus, Walker said, and they been able to improve the product based on the feedback from 1,500 initial participants. The team has been working with every greek life organization on campus, as well as several clubs, sports teams, and performing arts groups.

“We were preparing for a full launch after spring break,” Walker said, “then everything hit.”

Everything was the coronavirus pandemic and the closure of any venue or social gathering – public and private – that would make use of The Scene. But, he added, the economic shutdown has not been all bad. The app is already in its third generation, he said, and the team has had the luxury of time to make thoughtful improvements to the app instead of on-the-fly or knee-jerk decisions.

Nicolas Walker (top row, second left) and the rest of The Scene team being interviewed by Ryan Pettey.

The economic standstill created by the pandemic has also given them the opportunity to improve The Scene’s value proposition. So, when everything does open back up, Walker said, “The Scene will stand out even more because of its versatility.”

The app allows the consumer to find a local or virtual event, add it to their calendar, purchase tickets if needed, and book an Uber for that evening. That would make The Scene the one-stop shop for real social interaction.

Added to the app this summer has been the functionality that primes The Scene to generate revenue through ticket sales, business subscriptions, and promotions.

And Walker believes the team may be getting a glimpse of the future right now. A blogger, Ryan Pettey of generation-views.com, recently did a story on The Scene and its advantages after stumbling upon Walker’s LinkedIn profile. That blog post turned into a very favorable review. They have also secured the marketing talents of RedPeg Marketing, the company behind the initial push of Pokémon GO. So, it may only be a matter of time.

“We believe we are entering an era in which people will place higher value and priority on offline social interaction and experiences, and where people will be more proactive about the social movements they support and lead,” Walker said. “We are the platform that will best facilitate the social experiences and movements of this era.”

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