by Brian Heater
Mandolin just marked its first birthday earlier this month, and yet the Indianapolis-based startup is already announcing a $12 million Series A. That’s a quick follow up to the $5 million seed it raised in early October of last year. Turns out the global pandemic is a pretty fortuitious time to launch and grow a concert streaming platform.
The oversubscribed round was co-led by 645 Ventures and Foundry Group and featured additional funding from existing investors like High Alpha and TIME Ventures (Marc Benioff).
The big question, of course, is what happens to a company like Mandolin when the world starts opening back up? Sure concert livestreams got a massive boost as fans and artists alike were seeking an outlet as touring ground to a halt. But what now that venues are starting to reopen.
“As artists return to performing in sold out venues, Live+ will undoubtedly become a can’t-live-without digital complement that amplifies live shows,” CEO Mary Kay Huse said in a release. “Our new round of financing will support us in driving innovation of our core solution, delivering new digital offerings, and reinforcing our routes to market, so that every show is Live+.”
Granted, that’s…pretty abstract. But the simple answer is the company has been looking toward enhancing the in-person event as well, ahead of an inevitable reopening. Essentially the company wants to build a companion app for shows.
Here’s what Huse told Variety last week, “I would love it if we could see upwards of 50% of in-person attendees experiencing something digitally while in the venue, as early as before the end of the year. It’s just creating a compelling content that makes them want to do it.”
The company will also continue to focus on streaming, which may see a hit, but certainly isn’t going away, post-pandemic. The news also sees 645 Managing Partner Nnamdi Okike joining the company’s board.
“During COVID-19, livestreaming has been a game-changer for fans who want to experience their favorite artists, and for artists and venues who want to bring exciting live events for their fans,” Okike said. “Mandolin provides the best technology platform to enable these experiences, and they’re also scaling a company to meet the needs of this fast-growing category.”