Live Entertainment Returns, Thanks to Startups

Posted in News by Ben Worsley

Startup Roundup: October 8, 2020

It goes without saying that these are difficult times for live entertainment. Regal Cinemas announced earlier this week that all 536 of their movie theaters would be shut down as more blockbuster titles, such as the next James Bond, postpone releases until next year. Live music accounts for over 50 percent of the music industry's revenue, and most do not expect venues to start opening until well after a vaccine is adopted. Combined, analysts expect that just this year, the movie and concert industries will lose as much as $14 billion.

Once again, however, entrepreneurs filing the gap. Two start-ups reported seed support for their new technologies this week, resurrecting live entertainment to the audiences.



Scener emulates the live audience connection found in a movie theater from the safety of your living room. It connects Netflix, HBOMax, Disney+, Prime Video, etc., to your streaming accounts and allows you to invite your friends to a virtual viewing party that seamlessly integrates the spectator experience.   Up to 10 people can watch in a private room, but with a public event, up to 1 million people can join in the fun. Scener announced this week the completion of a $2.1 million seed funding round led by SeaChange with participation from Glaser Investments, Rob Glaser's new fund.


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Through its virtual concert platform,Mandolin reconnects venues, musicians, and their fans. With HD video and high-quality sound, it's the next best thing to being in the venue. Mandolin gives the artists and the venue an opportunity to supplement revenue streams that scaled back due to reduced capacity guidelines. And online attendees get the best views, can connect with other fans, and can even attend after-show virtual meet-and-greets with the musicians. Mandolin recently announced $5 million in seed funding, backed by High Alpha Capital and angel investors including Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.


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Other Startups in the News:

Dispo aims to bring back "joy and authenticity" to social media. The app was launched in December as David's Disposable (named after the founder and social media personality, David Dobrik), and has 2.6 million downloads to date. The company simultaneously revealed $4 million in seed funding and a revamping under the name "Dispo" earlier this week The funding round was backed by Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian's new Seven Seven Six venture fund, with participation from Unshackled Ventures.

Successful sales experts know how to create personalized experiences that respond to their individual prospect's unique needs.Walnut is a new platform that enables sales representatives to conduct customized live sales experiences remotely. No technical abilities are required for the software, eliminating the need for back-end support when a small adjustment to the presentation is needed. Moreover to help sales teams deliver better results, the platform will provide analytics. The company has announced seed funding of $2.5 million from NFX.

Innovators have been trying to find ways to accelerate whiskey's aging process as long as consumers have been drinking it. To date, however, nothing has come close to beating aging the alcohol in barrels of oak. Enter Bespoken Sprits, a Silicon Valley company that brings tech to the age-old methods of distillation. A process called ACTivation technology (that's A for aroma, C for color, and T for taste, if you're wondering) employs machine learning to monitor the chemical process and deliver results in just a few days. The firm has recently raised $2.6 million in seed funding from angel investors, including retired baseball player Derek Jeter.


Ben Worsley is Marketing & Creative Director at Masterplans

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