Startups

VenueNext raises $15 million to take its app beyond U.S. sports stadiums

Comment

Image Credits: Guy Kawasaki (opens in a new window) / Wikimedia Commons (opens in a new window) under a CC BY-SA 4.0 (opens in a new window) license.

VenueNext Inc. has raised $15 million in Series B funding to bring its venue management technology to Europe, and beyond the live entertainment industry.

Among other things, using VenueNext apps, people can wave their mobile tickets at the gate to get into a game or concert, order food, drinks or merchandise to be delivered to their seats, and get information and amenities that they need when they are in the venue.

The SAP Center in San Jose, home to the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, is the most recent major venue to adopt VenueNext for the 2016-2017 hockey season.

The Sharks join a long list of sports teams and venues to adapt VenueNext. The app will be familiar to anyone who has recently attended a game, concert or races at: Yankee Stadium, Churchill Downs, Minnesota Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium, Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, Belmont Park & Saratoga Springs, and the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium, where it debuted.

Founded in 2013, VenueNext originally spun out of the San Francisco 49ers Stadium Technology group at a time when stadiums were investing in improved wi-fi for attendees, and beginning to favor mobile over paper-based tickets.

Causeway Media Partners led the $15 million Series B round in VenueNext, joined by food service giants Compass Group Plc, and Sharks Sports & Entertainment, along with other unnamed investors. In 2015, the company raised a $9 million Series A round. 

While VenueNext has found its early traction with stadiums and theme parks, the company’s founder, John Paul reports that hotels and hospitals are also signing up to use the app, at this point.

“In a venue, we want to improve your guest or fan experience, through your smartphone. For the venue operators, we’re helping them improve their business through real time data that we collect about who is in the building and what they are doing during an event or their visit,” he said.

One feature of VenueNext’s platform that sports organizations like, Paul said, is a ticket “forwarding” feature. This allows a ticketholder to easily give a ticket, via mobile, to friends or family when they can’t attend.

Venues can begin to know when, for example, season ticketholders attended games themselves or when they handed off tickets bringing new fans to the venue.

In some cases, VenueNext allows ticketholders to sell their unused tickets back to a team. The team can re-sell the ticket. And the original buyer gets credit to spend during their next visit to the stadium on things like a seat upgrade, a locker room tour, or food and beverages.

Sharks Sports & Entertainment COO John Tortora tells TechCrunch that his organization does not typically invest in tech startups but did so because of VenueNext’s potential, positive impact to the industry.

Tortora said, “VenueNext should help us drive greater revenue around ticket sales and food and beverage, and to deliver the best possible customer service. We also think ticket forwarding and mobile ticketing reduces the risk of ticket fraud. We faced that issue during the Stanley Cup finals.”

With the new round of venture funding, VenueNext aims to expand beyond the U.S., namely into Europe. Longer-term, it also intends to help venues and campuses make use of emerging technology from augmented reality to delivery drones.

More TechCrunch

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

13 hours ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

15 hours ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo

Sony Music Group has sent letters to more than 700 tech companies and music streaming services to warn them not to use its music to train AI without explicit permission.…

Sony Music warns tech companies over ‘unauthorized’ use of its content to train AI

Winston Chi, Butter’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that “most parties, including our investors and us, are making money” from the exit.

GrubMarket buys Butter to give its food distribution tech an AI boost

The investor lawsuit is related to Bolt securing a $30 million personal loan to Ryan Breslow, which was later defaulted on.

Bolt founder Ryan Breslow wants to settle an investor lawsuit by returning $37 million worth of shares

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, launched an enterprise version of the prominent social network in 2015. It always seemed like a stretch for a company built on a consumer…

With the end of Workplace, it’s fair to wonder if Meta was ever serious about the enterprise

X, formerly Twitter, turned TweetDeck into X Pro and pushed it behind a paywall. But there is a new column-based social media tool in town, and it’s from Instagram Threads.…

Meta Threads is testing pinned columns on the web, similar to the old TweetDeck

As part of 2024’s Accessibility Awareness Day, Google is showing off some updates to Android that should be useful to folks with mobility or vision impairments. Project Gameface allows gamers…

Google expands hands-free and eyes-free interfaces on Android