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Kid Cudi’s AR live performance app raises $9m

Encore, the live performance app co-founded by American rapper Kid Cudi, has raised US$9 million (€7.9m) in seed funding.

The raise was led by Battery Ventures, and other investments came from 468 Capital, Parade Ventures, Nomad Ventures, Moving Capital, Kayak Ventures, and Gaingels.

The Encore Studio: Live Music AR app enables artists to create and perform live in custom Augmented Reality environments from their mobile device.

Fans participate via gamified microtransactions in the form of a ten-cent clap, which can be used to watch live shows, chat with an artist, and interact.

While in private beta, hundreds of artists including SSGKobe, The Cool Kids, Too $hort, and DC the Don have created and performed shows on Encore, attended by tens of thousands of fans who have collectively clapped almost a million times.

“We created Encore as a space for artists to share their art, build community, while also being able to pay their rent”

“My number one priority has always been inspiring others and providing them with the space to tell their own stories in an authentic and meaningful way,” says Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi.

“We created Encore as a space for artists to share their art, build community, while also being able to pay their rent.”

Jonathan Gray, co-founder and CEO of Encore, added: “Music artists are the original creators and they have been forgotten by the creator economy and overrun by memes and algorithms on social media.

“Our live AR technology empowers any artist to create personalised content and host experiences for their fans without a production budget or crew and make real cash with 100’s of engaged fans.”

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Encore is co-founded by Cudi, Gray and Hollywood producer, screenwriter and director Ian Edelman (president).

 


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Virtual concerts startup Stage11 attracts superstars

Immersive music experience startup Stage11 has announced partnerships with world-famous artists Martin Garrix, David Guetta, Snoop Dogg, Ne-Yo and Akon.

The news follows a €5 million seed round led by Otium Capital, a European venture capital fund backed by Stage11 founder and CEO, Jonathan Belolo.

Belolo is the co-owner of French record label Scorpio Music, which has a 45-year history in the music industry.

Belolo is joined by co-founders Jean-Philippe Braud and Gregory Dhonner, the co-founder and director of business development for Profirst, a luxury event agency for brands in fashion, beauty, and art (Armani, Chanel, Kering, L’Oréal, LVMH).

Also joining as co-founder is Mani Nordine, the president of American Artists Company, specialising in managing A-list artists and celebrities bookings (Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Nas & Lady Gaga).

Stage11 is using the funds to onboard strategic hires, sign key artist and brand partnerships and build its technology platform

Stage11 says it will use the funds to onboard strategic hires, sign key artist and brand partnerships and build its technology platform.

Amongst those new hires are executives who have previously worked for the likes of Assassin’s Creed, Facebook Oculus, Ferrari, Happy Feet, LVMH, Marvel Avengers, Microsoft Kinect, Nike, and Virgin.

Founded in 2020, with offices in both Paris and LA, Stage11 aims to tap into several of today’s fastest-growing markets including gaming, AR/VR, virtual events, and digital goods.

The company claims that it’s “setting out to redefine the interactive music experience” by combining gaming, mixed reality, and digital collectables.

It will achieve this by “building a new creative canvas for artists, allowing them to invite fans to live, play, and create inside their performances and musical worlds”.

We are combining genres, realities and cultures to build something bold, thrilling and timeless

“These worlds combine immersive gameplay sequences, life-like performances, cinematic narratives and exclusive digital collectables,” according to Stage11.

“Fans can not only discover and collect but actually use these interactive NFTs to create and share unique personalised content and even perform with their favourite artists.”

Stage11 can be accessed on desktop and mobile and the company’s first music experience is set to debut in 2022.

“As a gamer and sci-fi nerd, It feels like I’ve been dreaming about the metaverse my entire life,” says Belolo.

“Now that as a society we’re on the cusp of making it real, I find myself blessed to be part of an incredible team setting out to explore the new frontier. Building immersive music events and experiences is just the first step.

“We are on a journey together to reimagine the way artists and brands connect, even co-create, with their fans and audiences. We are combining genres, realities and cultures to build something bold, thrilling and timeless — yet accessible and fun.”

 


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‘Fan-powered promoter’ Stagelink raises new funds

Stagelink, a Berlin-based start-up that bills itself as a ‘fan-powered tour promoter’, has completed its second round of seed funding.

Investment firm Chione is the lead investor, reports Gründerszene, with film production company DCM, comedienne Carolin Kebekus and Thomas Hesse of Bertelsmann also taking part.

The company’s initial financing round was in October 2014, when it raised US$118,000. Terms of the latest investment were not disclosed, although an “informed source” speaking to Hypebot puts the figure at the “high six-digit euro” mark.

The money will, says Stagelink, be used to fund international expansion in the US and UK.

Stagelink offers artists a way to “crowdsource live events without risk” by allowing them to find fans and track demand for their shows worldwide and plan tours accordingly. It offers its services for a 15% cut of each ticket sold.

 


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