BEIRUT: The founders of Lebtivity.com have watched traffic to their new startup boom this holiday season as thousands of locals and local tourists scan the site daily for things to do. Lebtivity.com aggregates events happening around the country, from small poetry workshops and activist rallies to highly anticipated music festivals. Visitors can scan through events by popularity, date or narrow down options by searching for keywords. In addition to getting props for entrepreneurism, the founders have been invited to present at events abroad, including the Web Summit 2013 in Dublin.
And for New Year’s Eve, Lebtivity has posted the most exhaustive list of local fetes: over 200 elegant dinners, debauched raves and bar crawls.
The website has a whopping five co-founders: Rana Abou Rjeily, Teddy Zeenny, George Zeenny, Charbel Jamous and Randa Farah. One of them, Farah, spoke with The Daily Star about how Lebtivity found its footing.
Q: Can you describe activity on the site this time of year?
A: I think with the New Year we are the top source for events. You have more than 200 options only for New Year’s Eve, which is really a record and it’s increasing every day. We’re covering all the restaurants, hotels and clubs in Lebanon.
Q: How do you find all the events?
A: The idea of Lebtivity is that it is a crowd-sourced platform: anyone can add his own event by himself. There’s no need to call us or anything, you just click “add an event.” They can import the event from Facebook, so it’s very simple. And of course, we add some events because we want our page to be covering everything. We add as much as we can, but the goal is to have everybody adding his own event.
Q: How did it get started?
A: I was looking for hiking events, and after I went to my friends and I said we should start a website where on one page all the hiking events are listed for every Sunday. They said ‘OK why don’t we do it for all events.’ That’s how it began ... It was launched in May 2012.
Q: What has feedback been like?
A: We’re getting great feedback, great traffic. In fact, what’s really flattering is that when I go sometimes to events I have always at least four or five people who say “Oh, I found out about the event on Lebtivity.” The kinds of compliments we get are amazing. In addition to known events, we have small stuff that no one can really find easily: a band playing somewhere or a book club meeting, a small exhibition, a gathering somewhere.
Q: In light of the explosion in Downtown Friday, do you think people will still celebrate on New Year’s?
A: We are sad about the tragedy that happened [Friday] in Beirut and all the lives that have been lost. However, despite all the tragedies that inflict us, we keep on going with our Lebtivity mission. ... This is our Lebanon and we are doing our best to promote the diversity and dynamism of the country ... because whatever happens, I personally remember Gibran Khalil Gibran’s quote: “You have your Lebanon, and I have my Lebanon. You have your Lebanon and its dilemma. I have my Lebanon and its beauty.”
Events for New Year’s Eve can be found on Lebtivity’s site: http://www.lebtivity.com/e/new-years-lebanon-beirut-2013-2014.