Indianapolis-based live-streaming startup Mandolin has closed a $12 million Series A funding round.
Mandolin will use the funds to help accelerate the growth of its live-streaming and digital experiences platform. The company was founded in 2020 and is led by CEO Mary Kay Huse. Mandolin describes itself as a digital fan engagement company, allowing artists and venues to create new connections with fans.
Mandolin currently employs around 50 people – the funding will be used to grow to an estimated 100 by the end of 2021. Around half the staff are headquartered in Indianapolis, while others are scattered around Nashville, New York, Los Angeles, Denver, and San Francisco.
“As artists return to performing in sold-out venues, Live+ will undoubtedly become a can’t-live-without digital complement that amplifies live shows. 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+,” says Huse.
Huse describes Mandolin like the pre-game and post-game experience that sports fans get. It’s another way for super fans to engage with their favorite artists, with on-demand video replays of some of their favorite live moments. Mandolin wants to change the concert-going experience from inside venues – providing new conveniences to fans.
The round was led by 645 Ventures and Foundry Group, with participation from High Alpha, and Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures. Nnamdi Okike, Managing Partner & Co-Founder of 645 Ventures, joined Mandolin’s board of directors in conjunction with the funding round.
“At 645 Ventures, we believe that exceptional companies are being built that enable consumers to experience new behaviors that were accelerated during COVID-19. One of these categories is content live streaming and one of these companies is Mandolin,” Okike says.
“Mandolin provides the best technology platform to enable live streaming for artists, venues, and fans, and they’re building a business to serve the needs of this fast-growing category. We’re excited to lead their Series A funding round.”
Giving concertgoers a new experience by providing multiple camera angles from a companion device is just one idea Mandolin is piloting. Mandolin is counting on live streaming to remain an important part of music lovers’ lives. Most fans were introduced to the concept of live streaming music through pandemic relief shows.
But hundreds of indie musicians, artists, and DJs turned to Twitch and other live platforms to support themselves. Virtual busking became so popular on Twitch that the platform fast-tracked Soundcloud artists to partner status during the pandemic.