Press Release: Side Door raises $3M USD Seed round to foster a thriving global middle class of artistry
June 18, 2021, Halifax, NS – Side Door, the “any space is a venue” marketplace platform for the arts, has raised a US$3M Seed round. The round was led by Vancouver-based Rhino Ventures and saw meaningful participation from Upside Partnership, as well as an impressive group of early partners from other groundbreaking platforms such as Thinkific, Shopify, and Airbnb.
“This investment positions us to completely transform the world of live performance. The tools we use to achieve our vision have adjusted over time, but our mandate remains the same: to serve underserved creators and foster a thriving global middle class of artistry.” stated co-founder and CEO, Laura Simpson.
Co-founded by Laura Simpson and Dan Mangan in 2017, Side Door provides nearly 5000 artists and 2000 hosts the tools to produce and ticket intimate shows in non-traditional performance spaces like backyards, bookstores, warehouses, & living rooms. Artists can bypass traditional entertainment industry gatekeepers, browse spaces, and connect directly with passionate hosts around the globe to book their performances. Likewise, hosts can reach out directly to artists and curate shows for their community. Audiences can seek out unique and intimate artistic experiences close to home and become hosts, themselves. The platform even brokers royalty remittance to Performing Rights Orgs for musical performances so users aren’t liable for licensing issues.
Historically, Side Door specifically catered to in-person performances; however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company successfully pivoted to offer virtual, interactive live performances. They invested significantly in both their team and platform throughout the year and reported significant growth in 2020, ending the year with close to 50,000 users, a 12x increase in tickets sold, and a 150% increase in artist sign-ups. Side Door continues to report strong user growth, develop new markets and roll out product features, offering an ever-improving user experience. The platform now offers a range of performance choices including online (“Interactive” or “Broadcast”) or in-person shows.
“Side Door is arming the middle class of artists by removing the traditional barriers between them and their fans. We believe entrepreneur enablement is the future and Side Door provides artists with the agency to determine their own success and, importantly, fans the opportunity to contribute to and participate in that success; completing a virtuous cycle that will grow the Artist economy. Laura and Dan’s unique backgrounds and experience make them the perfect founders to build Side Door into a world-class platform and we are incredibly excited to partner with them” Jay Rhind, Partner at Rhino Ventures.
The company plans to use the fresh injection of capital to launch a widespread marketing campaign to increase their user base and brand awareness in the United States. Given that the USA has sadly suffered the loss of many small and medium-sized venues due to closures throughout the pandemic, Side Door is uniquely positioned to help reopen space for artists to play by allowing everyday people to become curators and host shows for their local communities, while helping artists get back on their feet with a low-overhead, financially sustainable touring model.
“Through 2020, our team tripled and the platform launched ahead leaps and bounds. Time and time again, we have learned that, as a tech platform, we win by focusing on fostering meaningful connection and community through the shared experience or art.” commented co-founder and JUNO Award-winning artist, Dan Mangan.
About Side Door:
Side Door was established in 2017 to connect artists with alternative venue spaces and their audiences through high-value intimate shows. The company offers an efficient, friendly, and transparent platform where anybody can perform, host, or present shows for their communities. Through its leading technology and design, the company delivers in-person, virtual, interactive, and broadcast experiences for artists and audiences anywhere, anytime.
For more information, visit www.sidedooraccess.com.
About Rhino Ventures
Rhino Ventures leads early-stage financings for high-growth technology startups in Western Canada. With $90M under management, they’ve invested in several iconic Canadian companies including Article, Thinkific, FISPAN, and Klue, and continue to invest in top-performing teams tackling massive challenges. Rhino Ventures is led by partners Fraser Hall, Jay Rhind, and David Hogarth and is based in Vancouver, BC. For more information, visit www.rhinovc.com.
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