Arjun Mali is helping people find events and activities in their area

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Who: Arjun Mali, co-founder and COO of Happenin, a map-based search engine for discovering events and activities in your area
Company HQ: Remote
Founded: 2021
Employees: 10

How it works: “The app has an interactive map of your immediate area, dotted with a bunch of purple icons, which show the locations of various events and activities. It lets you find out what’s happening in the city in real time.”

Eureka moment: “We have another app called MapInHood, which is basically Waze for pedestrians. It has a map of Toronto marked with points of interest, like landmarks, street murals, water fountains and accessible washrooms. Our users told us they wanted an easy way to find stuff to do in their neighbourhood. So, we basically took the map technology from MapInHood and added activities to it.”

How much you spent initially: “About $300,000 of our own money. It went toward tech development, marketing and paying our small team of employees.”

Your turning point: “We timed our launch with Stage 3 of reopening, knowing that people would be eager to explore the city again. Recently, we’ve been getting about 1,000 active users a month.”

Your big-time backers: “None—we’re totally self-funded—but we’re hoping to raise an initial $3 million to hire more talent and boost marketing.”

Coolest thing in your office: “A canvas of Ari Gold from Entourage holding a paintball gun. I got it for about $180.”

Tech jargon you use too much: “ ‘Bootstrapping.’ It describes how we got Happenin off the ground, so we use that term a lot in meetings with investors.”

The best advice you’ve received: “ ‘Don’t wait to get started.’ Planning is great, but you need to actually get going. Small steps every day will yield a lot of progress.”

The worst advice you’ve received: “ ‘Only release the product when it’s ready.’ I’d rather put out an early version, get a bunch of feedback from users, then make any necessary changes.”

Past Life: “I started trading stocks while studying business and economics at McMaster. It helped me pay for school, buy a car and launch my first company.”

Bryan Chesky

Your tech role model: “Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb. He disrupted the entire travel industry.”

App you can’t live without: “Slack. It’s really handy having it on my phone and PC. I would struggle to get work done without it.”

If you weren’t running a start-up: “I would probably be trading in the financial markets.”