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Jedo: Social media that lets you really mingle and even wangle deals

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Social media is not all about Facebook or even Google+. It has a lot of legs. Still.

Take a look at Jedo, whose motto is: Revolutionise how we socialise.

The Melbourne startup marries social online media with real offline events, and what’s more, throws in a daily deal kind of pricing for event promoters.

“Jedo lets you be a local, wherever you are,” says Anneliese Urquhart, who not too long ago was managing e-commerce at API/Priceline. Her partner in the venture is RMIT graduate and technology specialist Ranbir Singh, 35.

Jedo is somewhat like Roamz, an iPhone app that uses social media to deliver to travelers local events, based on their interests. But Jedo simply does this for everybody across Australia by tapping the power of social media, location tagging and mobile technologies. Consequently, it has already established scores of special interest groups, besides geographically tying them all together.

The startup is, in some ways, an expression of Urquhart’s own upbringing, interests and lifestyle. She has mingled in a variety of communities — childhood spent in a remote pocket of South Australia to the inner Melbourne world of hipsters and on to the online social media when traveling the world.

“When you could find out about local events and you knew which ones were good you could have a lot of fun but getting that local knowledge was really hard,” Urquhart says.

Jedo starts off by letting people create a free online profile and become members. This then automatically builds groups, based on interests. Members also can create their own social events and are notified about any events that fit their interests. Jedo plans to add SMS notifications soon on not only events but also on daily bargains.

“As I walk around the city with my smart phone I get notified via text of last-minute ticket deals; I see that a great band is playing tonight and the tickets are 50% off. I buy a ticket on my mobile and share the event with my friends via Twitter and Facebook so that they can come and join me,” says Urquhart, expanding the possibilities of using technology to deliver value to members.

Jedo also allows event organisers — currently including the cities of Stonnington and Boroondara, charities such as the Smith Family, and numerous local bars and restaurants — load and manage their events online, accept bookings and sell tickets.

Jedo is backed by Nick Reade, general manager for Small Business Banking at ANZ Bank, who saw the Urquhart’s pitch in an angel investment network.

“I see a lot of businesses and new startups in my role, but Jedo really appealed to me. It is simple but very innovative with smart people behind it,” he said.

Urquhart says she has big ambitions for Jedo.

“We want to provide the most comprehensive events information for local events,” she says. Started first in Melbourne, Jedo sprung up in Adelaide after South Australians began signing up and posting events, and events are now appearing for Queensland and regional New South Wales. Next month, she plans to foray into Sydney.

Finally, what’s in the name? Does Jedo mean anything?

Nope. Urquhart says she picked the name because she was looking for a “short, memorable name that would work well in a mobile environment, could be used as an action verb and that wasn’t taken as a domain.”

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