Are Paper Guest Lists Now Obsolete? Ask the Founders of Tablet Guest List zkipster

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

About 4 years ago, zkipster co-founder David Becker was producing a student event in Switzerland for over 1,000 guests. The line was about 100 yards long, and he needed to get people inside more quickly. So, he began putting lists on an iphone, which speeded up check-ins. As he traveled around the world – acting as digital media consultant for global brands in Europe and the United States – he realized that the inefficiency of paper guest lists had become a global problem. This opening in the market led to the founding of zkipster, the tablet guest list (used on an ipad) co-founded by Becker and social media entrepreneur Daniel Dessauges. Shortly thereafter, zkipster partnered up with public relations powerhouse Nadine Johnson & Associates to turn a promising idea into an industry standard for professional event hosts and planners. Which they are well on their way to doing: the company recently launched their New York City operation with a private dinner at Tribeca hotspot Super Linda.

Over a family style meal of croquetas, tuna ceviche, and tres leches, among other dishes, Becker (cousin of Super Linda partner and nightlife impresario Serge Becker) filled us in on some of the history of the company. Its name: “we wanted something with both ‘hipster’ and ‘skip’ in it – as in skip the line.” Their first major event: The Whitney Museum annual Art Party on the Highline Stages, in the spring of 2011. “That’s when I first saw [our application] in action on the red carpet.” Plans to expand to London and L.A. are in the works, but it is New York, Becker explains, “where people adapt the fastest. We didn’t need to explain to event planners here why ipads were the next step for guest lists.” Moreover, the real-time syncing between devices and guest lists renders gate-crashing more or less a thing of the past.

But there are even more creative outlets for zkipster – that go beyond the obvious of facilitating a seamless check-in process. A Norway summer camp, for example, used the app to alert parents that their children had checked in. Others have used zkipster for seated dinners: as it (unfortunately) becomes more common for guests to cancel at the last minute, the application allows planners more flexibility when it comes to seating and unseating.

With Art Basel just wrapped up and Awards Season and Fashion Week around the corner, zkipster is entering its busy season. Now that the company is Manhattan-based, look for the first online solution to paper guest lists to become the new normal. If the founders have it their way, there will no longer be lines for “hipsters” – or any other party denizens – to “skip.”


Back on the Bilboquet

Philippe Delgrange and Ronald O. Perelman open a new restaurant reminiscent of the old Le Bilboquet


The Spectacle of The Damned

The Park Avenue Armory's latest updates a classic look at wealth and fascism


A Toast to MOSS

Despite what they've said about him, our columnist lauds two friends