SF startup atVenu today announced a $1.1 million seed funding round, led by Montreal’s Real Ventures and including private investors located in both the U.S. and Canada. AtVenu’s goal is to build a merchandize management system that suits the needs of artists and musicians around the world, to help them sell their goods with advanced tools including revenue forecasts and inventory management.
It’s a far cry from the simple lockbox and some cash method, with maybe a pen-and-paper list of what you have sold and what you still have on hand that many amateurs make do with. But the platform has already shown a lot of appeal not just to small acts, but also to some of the biggest names in music, including Kid Rock, John Mayer, Train and more. The platform launched in January last year to a select group of private clients, and has so far done more than $52 million in merch sales.
Now, atVenu is launching to the general public, in tandem with this funding announcement. That means anyone can use its web-based platform to do things like manage their inventories, receive automated nightly reports, check out analytics of tour sales performance and take advantage of reporting tools with key industry tracking offerings like Nielsen SoundScan. Festivals, venues, and labels can also make use of the platform to keep track of how their merch businesses are doing, as well as artists.
“The system is designed to be used by the party directly responsible for merchandise and music sales at live events,” explained atVenu co-founder and CEO Derek Ball in an interview. “Often this is the artist themselves, but also very common is a merchandising company who has been contracted by the artist management to do this on behalf of the artist. All of the major record labels have their own in-house merchandise companies, and there are also many independents.”
AtVenu’s main appeal is going to be for musicians and music labels, Ball says, but there’s plenty of opportunity in other fields as well.
“The atVenu platform will work for any type of live event, but the music industry is a large market who feels the pain we address most acutely,” he said. “We have had clients use atVenu at sporting events, conferences and other places in addition to just concerts.”
This seed funding will help the startup hire on new engineering talent, as well as new customer sales and support staff. AtVenu is looking to grow, and no just in the U.S., but particularly abroad. The company has a good head start, with big name clients on board already during its first year of operation, but big audiences for live shows are everywhere, so global growth is a good target to shoot for.